González Rivas

Marcela Gonzalez Rivas

Assistant Professor
3221 Posvar Hall
Curriculum vitae
Faculty Website



  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, City and Regional Planning, 2007
  • MSc, London School of Economics, Development Studies, 1997
  • BA, Universidad de las Américas – Mexico City, Mexico. International Relations, 1994


I am an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, where I am on the faculty advisory board of the Center for Latin American Studies.

My research is on social equity and how community development and regional economic planning can overcome issues of marginalization of people and places.  One area of concentration has been regional economic inequality in Mexico, exploring how the country's trade policies since the 1940s have impacted the economic performance of individual states.  I have particularly concentrated on how these policies, in combination with the planning processes that have allocated infrastructure policies, have affected the southern states of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca.  A second area of concentration is on inequality of water access in Mexico.  I have focused on why indigenous communities in Mexico have particularly low levels of water access, and how planning, community development processes, and new technologies might be able to reverse this trend.  My work has been or will soon be published in the Annals of Regional Science, Community Development, Development in Practice, Latin American Research Review, Mexican Studies, and Water Policy.

I have extensive teaching experience, having taught at Cornell, Princeton, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Topics of the courses have included urban and regional development and planning in developing nations, immigration, international institutions, research design, and urban spatial structure.  For several consecutive years, I have also led an international policy and planning workshop for Master's Degree students, in which we travel to the Mexico to study different government programs.  

You can find my most recent CV here.  I have a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA); an M.Sc. in development studies from the London School of Economics (UK); and a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Americas (Mexico).

Select Publications and Funded Research

  • “Water governance paradigm change: responses from civil society beyond the privatization debate in Mexico City” In progress.
  • “Planning for Equity in Decentralized Developing Countries.” In progress.“Resettlement as a Strategy for the Reduction of Disaster Risk and Public Goods Provision.” With Martin Larsson. In progress.
  • “Deep Sustainability for Water Treatment: A Comparative Evaluation of Agua Clara Plants and Package Plants in Honduras.” With Michael J. Adelman, Victoria L. Klug and Monroe L. Weber-Shirk. In progress.
  • "Analyzing the Potential of Community Water Systems--The Case of Agua Clara." 2014
  • "Decentralization, Community Participation, and Improvement of Water Access in Mexico." 2014
  • "Ethnolinguistic Divisions and Access to Clean Water in Mexico." 2014
  •  “Why Do Indigenous Municipalities in Mexico Have Worse Piped Water Coverage?”  Development in Practice. 22:1(2012), 31-43.
  • “Trade Openness, Infrastructure, and the Wellbeing of Mexico’s South.” Mexican Studies. Vol. 27, No. 2, Summer 2011, pp. 407-429.
  • “The Effects of Trade Openness on Regional Inequality in Mexico.” The Annals of Regional Science. Vol. 41. No. 3, September 2007, pp. 545-561.
  • “Review: Uneven Regional Development, The European Union and its New Member States.” Regional Studies, Volume 39, No. 7, October 2005, pp. 1006-1007.



    • PIA 2125: City and Region, Theory and Practice
    • Capstone Seminar: International Project Planning in Developing Countries
    • PIA 2707: Urbanization and Development


    Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
    3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260