The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Ariana Markowitz

Thesis title: Making dangerous places: Metabolising fear and trauma in San Salvador
Keywords: urban violence, methodology, gender, embodiment

I am a social urbanist and feminist researcher specialising in urban violence, participatory urban design, methodology development, and research ethics. My doctoral thesis explores the interplay between space and bodies in cities in order to propose a feminist methodology for working on extreme and chronic urban violence using San Salvador as a case study. In 2020, I contributed an ethics guideline on managing risk and navigating well-being to the Practising Ethics initiative spearheaded by the Bartlett Ethics Commission and Urban KNOW, and in 2019 I received a fellowship from Graduate Women International for research to prevent violence against women and girls. I have presented my work in academic and non-academic settings in Europe, Latin America, and, most recently, online.

I have more than 15 years of cross-sector experience in violence and precarity in 15 countries across North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In 2020, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security and Impact:Peace commissioned me to undertake exploratory research on identity-based mass violence in cities for which I developed a typology of urban atrocities that I used to examine nine case studies from around the world over the last 25 years. Prior consulting projects have taken me to San Salvador where I led a team in rewriting the city’s public space policy; Mexico City and Monterrey to document police reform; and various towns and cities in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Benin to strengthen the social impact of entrepreneurial ventures. I have also developed, refined, and implemented counterterrorism methodologies with partners in government and law enforcement throughout the United States and Canada. I obtained an MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development from DPU and a BA in Political Science and Middle East Studies from McGill University.