Vyjayanthi Rao (Co-Founder) is an anthropologist who studies cities after globalization. She is interested in developing innovative approaches to studying built environments as sites of cultural praxis and historical meaning.  Her work on cities has been published in a number of journals, including Public Culture, New Literary History, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and Editoriale Lotus. Her book manuscript, Speculative City: Building Stories in Global Mumbai is under review and her edited collection, Speculation, Now: Essays and Artworks on Contingency and Change – product of a multi-year collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School – was published by Duke University Press in 2015. She is a senior editor of UR, a new journal of urban research and the Director of Terreform Center for Advanced Urban Research, an independent, non-profit research center in New York. For more information, visit her personal site and

Vineet Diwadkar (Co-Founder) is a designer and urban planner who develops knowledge, strategy, material, and media interventions towards more just, open, and accessible futures. He is currently a fellow at the Urban Design Research Institute, and previously Research Associate with the Urban South Asia Project and Urban Theory Lab (UTL) in the Department of Urban Planning & Design at Harvard University. He has worked with government agencies, private actors, non-profit organizations, and universities on award-winning community-based urban planning, civic media, GIS, heritage conservation, and architecture projects. His work has been covered by The New York Times, published in the Informal Market Worlds Reader and Revista Materia Arquitectura, and exhibited in Australia, Chile, China, India, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. He received Master in Urban Planning and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Bachelors degree in Architecture from Georgia Tech. For more information, visit his personal site.

Christopher Alton (Associate) is a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship. Working with OPSYS Landscape Infrastructure Lab, Alton is currently Project Co-Manager, Lead Researcher & Assistant Editor of EXTRACTION, Canada’s entry for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. His work explores conceptions of territory while examining the impact of resource extraction on urbanization and planning. Alton has worked as a researcher for Plandform, The Urban Theory Lab (UTL), and is a former Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA) Canada Research Fellow. Alton has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University in Toronto and holds a Master in Design Studies degree with Distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His work on the Lower Athabasca Region has recently been presented at the Phyllis Lambert Seminar Geographies of Exploitation at the Université de Montréal.

Grga Basic (Associate) is an architect, researcher, and graduate from the Master in Design Studies program in the Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology concentration at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His research interests include critical and narrative cartography, and metrics of human impacts on Earth’s ecosystems. Grga holds Master of Architecture degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, having previously studied at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. His award-winning master thesis on the dynamics of ecological footprints was exhibited at the 5th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam in 2012. For more information, visit his personal site.

Mariana Cavalcanti (Associate) is an anthropologist and urbanist. She received her PhD in Social/Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2007. She has been Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences and History of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (CPDOC/FGV) since 2008, where she founded the Urban Studies Laboratory and currently coordinates the Oral History Program. She is also Co-founder and board member of Casa Fluminense, a civil society association aimed at deepening democracy and reducing inequalities in the Metropolitan Area and the State of Rio de Janeiro. Her research focuses on questions related to housing, inequality and urban planning in Rio de Janeiro. Most recently she has acted as research consultant to the World Bank, collaborated in the program Morar Carioca of the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro and co-directed the documentary film Favela Fabril (2012, 50’).

Damian Cerrone (Associate) is co-founder and coordinator at SPIN Unit, a transnational urban research group combining art and science to find new and creative approaches to urban studies and advanced data solutions. Damiano is also principal researcher at TERREFORM New York and Ph.D. student at the architecture dept. of the Estonian Academy of Arts. This year he received the Young Scholar award at the ESRI UC in San Diego and the second prize for the Most unique map of the year.

Namita Dharia (Associate) is a social anthropologist and architect. Her research interests include architecture and the built environment, urban development politics, labor, and the experience of cities. Dharia is currently working on a book based on her doctoral dissertation. The book is a cross-class ethnography of the real estate and construction industry in India’s National Capital Region. In it she analyzes the dynamics of creativity and innovation across various classes who work within the construction industry. Her work is vested in investigating the intimate relationships between human and non human worlds in the context of rapidly urbanizing areas in developing countries. Her interdisciplinary project seeks to establish conversations between architecture and anthropology. Dharia received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Mumbai and holds a master’s degree in architecture from Cornell University. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. More about her can be found at

Tamer Elshayal (Associate) is an Egyptian urbanist working at the intersection of urban theory, critical geography, environmental anthropology, and science and technology studies. His research seeks to examine the shifting spatialities of mega-engineering in the Middle East through the study of spatial and cultural politics of large infrastructural projects. Tamer is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Studies at Harvard University. He holds a Master in Design Studies in Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Master of Landscape Architecture from FH Anhalt, Germany; a Post-professional Certificate in GIS and Environment from Salford University, UK; and a Bachelor of Architecture from Faculty of Fine Arts, Egypt. Tamer has previously worked as landscape architect in Germany and Egypt, and as an environmental researcher at the Center for the Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Hector Tarrido-Picart (Associate) is a designer from San Juan, Puerto Rico and founding member of the Urban Wild Lab, a research laboratory exploring the field of remote sensing, urban ecology and landscape architecture through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, UC Berkley’s Global Urban Humanities Initiative and the Harvard University’s Loeb Library. He holds a Bachelor in Architecture from Cornell University and Master in Architecture in Urban Design and a Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Farzan Dalal (Intern) is a communication designer with a bachelor’s degree in design from the National Institute of Design, India, specialising in Exhibition and Spatial Design. He is interested in research, ethnography, communication and data visualisation, and spatial story telling. He is currently the in-house designer for the Conflictorium – Museum of Conflict, and an exhibition and production designer. He has exhibited his work in Ahmedabad and Mumbai and was previously an intern at the Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai. For more information, visit his personal site.