The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Thaisa Comelli

Thaisa Comelli
Name: Thaisa Comelli
Nationality: Brazilian

Thesis: Participating in times of uncertainty: between urban policy and collective action in contemporary favela territories

Key Topics: participation; insurgent urbanism; policy; urban poverty; slums



Thaisa Comelli is a PhD student and urban planner from Brazil. Her work focuses on marginalized and vulnerable urban territories, particularly in southern territories.

For her MSc course (UIC - Barcelona), she analysed gentrification and socio-spatial transformations related to investment-attracting policies in Brazilian favelas during the country’s hosting of the Football World Cup and the Olympics.

Her PhD research (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) explores the links between institutionalized participation and grassroots activism within slum upgrading programs. Thaisa’s work as a visiting researcher at the DPU focuses on the power dynamics, institutions and identities that emerge in diverse forms of participation. She looks at these processes from the lenses of the literature specialized on Southern urban planning, post-collaborative planning and radical planning/democracy.

Thaisa also has hands-on experience in projects with NGOS, architectural firms and development organizations in Senegal, Spain and several Brazilian cities.


Primary supervisor: Alexandre Apsan Frediani

Secondary Supervisor: Jorge Fiori



In Brazil, Thaisa Comelli’s research is supported by the The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES).

For the research at the DPU, Thaisa was granted a scholarship from the Research Support Foundation for the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ).