Diane Davis named Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism

Harvard University Graduate School of Design is pleased to announce that Diane Davis has been named the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism. Davis has served as Professor of Urbanism and Development at the GSD since 2012.

The Charles Dyer Norton Professorship is a gift from James Freeman Curtin (AB 1899), who in 1929 contributed an endowed chair to Harvard for the teaching of municipal or regional planning, in memory of his friend Charles Norton. Davis’s expertise in the political economy of urbanization in rapidly expanding cities of the developing world is an ideal match for this professorship. Previous faculty members to hold this title include Henry Vincent Hubbard (1929-41), John Merriman Gaus (1941-43), George Holmes Perkins (1944-51), Coleman Woodbury (1951-53), Reginald Roderic Isaacs (1957-78), and Francois Vigier (1985-2005).

Davis’s research focuses on the transformation of cities of the global south, particularly the urban social, spatial, and political conflicts that have emerged in response to globalization, informality, and political and economic violence. She is a prior recipient of research fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heinz Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the United States Institute for Peace, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Currently, Davis directs a project funded by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundation titled “Transforming Urban Transport – The Role of Political Leadership.” Davis is also the co-PI of another project on sustainable urban development and housing in Mexico – a project which explores new directions in social housing supply in the context of a major national initiative towards the re-densification of Mexican cities, funded by Mexico’s National Worker Housing Agency (INFONAVIT).

Davis is the author of Urban Leviathan: Mexico City in the Twentieth Century (Temple University Press 1994; Spanish translation 1999) and Discipline and Development: Middle Classes and Prosperity in East Asia and Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2004) as well as coeditor of Irregular Armed Forces and their Role in Politics and State Formation (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Cities and Sovereignty: Identity Politics in Urban Spaces (Indiana University Press, 2011). She also serves on the editorial boards of City and Community, Political Power and Social Theory, and the Journal of Latin American Studies