My research focuses on issues of urban poverty and exclusion, primarily in the context of southern California. I am interested in the relationships between people, community and place, and in the ways geography shapes economic opportunities and identities. In particular, my research focuses on four main aspects of these socio-spatial relationships: 

  • Food, ethnicity and place
  • Informal work, occupational segregation, gender and immigration
  • Local governance and the nonprofit sector
  • Parks, public space and social inclusion
Current Projects:
  • Food Ethnicity and Place: Feeding Families and Nourishing Communities
  • From Marginal to Mainstream:  The Informalization of Work in Southern California
  • The Right to the (Healthy) City: Public Parks, Community Formation and the Politics of Place

Future Projects:

I hope to continue working on projects investigating the relationships between place, inequality and social exclusion. Recently, my research interests have turned to: food choices in low-income neighborhoods and "alternative" food practices; children's geographies; work, home and social reproduction; difference and citizenship; children's connections to nature, parks and community. I welcome the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students who share my research interests and am open to multiple perspectives and methodologies. 


My dissertation, entitled “Participation in Informal Labor Markets: Evidence from Latina Immigrants in Los Angeles”, examined the role of place in shaping employment in informal work. I argued that gender and ethnic differences in work experiences are (re)produced spatially within segmented local labor markets and social networks. My research showed that social networks can be both enabling and constraining, often reproducing inequalities along the lines of gender, race and class.