Delia Wendel is an interdisciplinary scholar and design practitioner whose research incorporates perspectives from Urban Planning, Cultural Geography, Architectural History, and Anthropology. Her work addresses three main areas of research: spatial politics, how communities rebuild and recover from conflict and disaster, and the production of rural and urban environments in Africa. Current writing builds from ethnographic and historical research in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide to explore how state peacebuilding objectives are realized and challenged in the rebuilding of housing, settlements, and civic space.
Delia’s professional history includes design practice, development work, and university teaching. She has worked for architectural and urban design firms in New York City and Washington DC, as an Assistant Professor at the University of Edinburgh, and for UN-HABITAT in Nairobi. She holds degrees in Urban Planning (PhD, Harvard University), Cultural Geography (MSc, University College London), Architectural History and Theory (MDesS, Harvard GSD), and Architecture (BArch, Rice University). She is currently a Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard GSD.
Previous publications have explored diverse relationships between politics and the built environment. In Spatializing Politics: Essays on Power and Place, which she co-edited with Fallon Samuels Aidoo, Delia contributed chapters that explore spatial forms of political praxis and a Rwandan radio drama’s imagined communities of conflict and peace. Spatializing Politics was funded in part by the Graham Foundation and distributed by the GSD and Harvard University Press in 2016. Previously published research includes essays on spatial justice in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricanes (Journal of Urban Design, 2009) and on the history of disinvestment in the same city along with possibilities for infrastructure as political activism (The Handbook of Architectural Theory, 2012).