The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Isabel M. Brain

isabel brain

I’m an urban sociologist. I hold an MPA from Harvard (2013), a Master in Philosophy from Universidad de Chile (2011) and a BA in Sociology from Universidad Católica de Chile (2001).

For the last 5 years, I’ve worked as independent consultant/advisor/researcher for international agencies such as the Global Development Network (GDN), the IADB, UN-ECLAC, the World Bank, UN-Habitat and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Since 2010, I'm a member of the Latin-American Research and Lecturer Staff of Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

I co-founded and directed ProUrbana Program from Universidad Católica de Chile (2004-2012) and before that, I also co-founded and directed the Social Research Center (CIS) of TECHO Foundation (2002-2004).

I’ve always worked in the urban policy research field mainly focusing on the analysis of the relationship between the land market, housing policies and social urban segregation. Other areas of expertise that've gained throughout my career are: citizens participation, land-readjustment implemented for post-disaster recovery and PPP for urban redevelopment. Most recently my research work (funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy) has focused on the geography of opportunity and inclusionary housing and its impact on people’s life chances.

My PhD research focuses on the academic discussion around urban regeneration and repopulation of inner city’ areas, taking the city of Santiago de Chile as a case study. I will reflect on the nuances of these processes in the developing world by exploring other possible entries to the understanding of these urban changes that somehow depart from the strong connection marked in the literature between regeneration and gentrification.


Peer-reviewed Journals

Brain, I., Prieto, J. Sabatini, F., (2010). Living in Slums: A way to obtain a social housing or a location strategy to face vulnerability? [Web edition]. Eure, 36 (109), 111-141. (Language: English)

Sabatini, F., Brain, I. (2008). Segregation, ghettos and urban integration: myths and clues. [Web edition]. EURE, 34 (103), 5-26. (Language: Spanish)

Brain, I; Mora, P. (2012) The Neighbourhood as the driver of housing value in Chile: evidence from Housing Panel Survey 2010. Persona y Sociedad, 26 (1), 113-145. (Language: Spanish)


Hong, Y; Brain, I. (2012) “Land Readjustment for Urban Development and Post-Disaster Reconstruction” LandLines Journal, Vol. 24 Nº1. January. (USA) (Language: English)

Brain, I.; Mora, P. (2011). “Legislative Notes Nº 12: Housing Policy Adjustments: Elements for the debate”. Public Policy Center UC. (Language: Spanish)

Sabatini, F.; Edwards G.; Cubillos G.; Brain, I; Mora, P; Rasse, A. (2010). “Spatial dispersion of affordable housing as way to reach social urban integration”. Book. “Towards the Bicentenary. Proposals for Chile”, Universidad Católica. (Language: Spanish)

Brain, I.; Celhay, P.; Prieto, J. and Sabatini, F. (2009). “Living in Slums: Residential Location Preferences in Santiago, Chile”. Landlines Journal, Vol. 21, Nº4. October. Cambridge, US. (Language: Spanish)

Brain, I.; Cubillos, G. y Sabatini, F. (2007). “Social Urban Integration in the New Housing Policy”. Public Agenda Journal, Center of Public Policy Center. Universidad Católica. (Language: Spanish) Brain I. (2007). “Neighbors must participate in the changes of their neighborhoods”. Foco 76 Journal. Nº 3.

Brain. I, Sabatini. F. (2006). “The sustained increase in land prices erodes the housing subsidy, deteriorating the quality and location of social housing”. ProUrbana’s Journal, Nº 4. (Language: Spanish)

Brain, I., Sabatini, F. (2006). “Opportunities, Equity and City: The New Citizens”. Center of Social Research Journal, TECHO Foundation. (Language: Spanish) Brain, I.; Iacobelli, A., Sabatini, F. (2005). “Quality and value of the social housing: an problem of location and neighborhood.”  ProUrbana’s Journal, Nº 2. (Language: Spanish)

Bonomo, U; Brain, I; Simioni D.  (2015) Access to housing. Book. “Towards universal social protection: Latin American pathways and policy tools”/(Eds) Cecchini, S; Filgueira, F; Martínez R; Rosse C. United Nations. Santiago, Chile. (Language: English/Spanish)

Brain, I; Mora, P; Sabatini, F. (2015) Rent on a dynamic housing policy in Chile. Book. “Looking house for sale: promote renting makes sense” / (Eds) Blanco, A; Fretes, V; Muñoz, A. IDB Washington DC. (Language: English/Spanish)

Brain, I; Mora, P. (Eds.) (2013) “Emergency and reconstruction: the before and after of the earthquake and tsunami 27F in Chile”. MAPFRE Foundation. (Language: Spanish)

Book chapter

Brain, I. (2016). Santiago’s Repopulation Program: A Successful Strategy for Regenerating a Shrinking City. In O. W. Ameritahmasebi, Regeneratin Urban Land: A practitioner's guide to leveraging private investment (pp. 181-218). Washington, USA: The World Bank. (Language: English)

Blog posts

Katz, B. and Brain, I. Devolution in Chile (2017) https://www.brookings.edu/blog/metropolitan-revolution/2017/04/05/devolution-in-chile-whatever-competencies-cities-need-they-likely-have/

Brain, I. Vertical ghettos and stigmatization (2017) http://www.latercera.com/voces/guetos-verticales-estigmatizacion/ (In Spanish)

Brain, I. and Katz, B. Devolution in Chile: reversing the reasoning to move forward (2017) http://www.latercera.com/voces/descentralizacion-chile-invertir-razonamiento-avanzar/