Enrique R. Silva

Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator, City Planning and Urban Affairs

PhD, University of California, Berkeley
MScPl, University of Toronto
BA, Columbia University

Dr. Silva is an expert in comparative urbanization and the formation of public sector planning institutions and practices. His research objective is to identify how human and economic resources are mobilized and policy decisions are made in socio-politically volatile or fiscally challenged communities. His research analyzes the use and creation of planning tools under conditions of competing sovereignties, leadership vacuums, and institutional fragmentation at the metropolitan and neighborhood levels. Silva’s empirical work and analysis in the Americas seeks to feed policy debates and interventions designed to reduce the vulnerability of humans in urban centers as well as anchor principles of resource regeneration and social equity to contemporary processes of urban development.

Silva is currently conducting his research in Boston and the Caribbean.  In Boston, Silva’s research is focused on micro-practices of governance and planning around issues of household energy use, as well as management of aging infrastructure and utility networks.  In the Caribbean, Silva is currently engaged in post-earthquake reconstruction and collaborative planning efforts in Haiti. Together, these projects contribute an analytical framework that more clearly links political economic analyses of planning with current theories on planning processes and urban resilience.
Silva teaches courses on the theory and history of city planning, comparative urbanization, politics and public participation, and qualitative research methods. He also leads the graduate capstone course for Master of City Planning and Master of Urban Affairs students. Silva has worked abroad in the fields of international development, philanthropy, and human rights, and has several years of professional experience as a city planner and environmental permitting consultant in the Greater Boston area.

At Boston University, Silva has spearheaded efforts to raise the profile and reach of the master’s programs in Urban Affairs and City Planning. Silva has expanded the graduate curriculum by including workshops on the participatory planning process, seminars on comparative urbanization in planning, and re-developing the capstone master’s course, the Boston Symposium. These efforts are aimed at further expanding the program’s theoretical and practice-based offerings, exposing students to cutting-edge planning techniques and debates, as well as maximizing the rich network of professional contacts within and beyond the Greater Boston area. Silva also often lectures as a guest for courses in political science, public health, and geography.


Scholarly Work & Appointments

Published Articles and Papers
“Managing the citizen:  Privatized public works and the bureaucratic management of citizenship in post-authoritarian Chile, 1990-2005” in Citizenship Studies (in print)

“Access Denied: Urban Highways, Deliberate Improvisation and Political Impasse in Santiago, Chile.” Chapter 10 in Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles, edited by A. Latta and H. Wittman, Vol. 101 of Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (New York, N.Y.: Berghahn Books, July 2012).

Deliberate improvisation: Planning highway franchises in Santiago, Chile.” Planning Theory 10, no. 1 (February 2011): 35-52.

“Complex Natural Disasters and the Role of the University.” Pardee Center Issues in Brief no. 17 (October 2010).

Current Research Projects and Grants
Mirebalais Planning Initiative 2012-204, partial funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Energy Efficiency and Public Housing, Madison Park – Boston, partial funding from IBM

Faculty Fellow, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future, Boston University
Member of the editorial board, Journal Espacialidades, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).
Affiliated Faculty Member, National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster Management, Chile

Interviews/News Articles
Interview in SciDev.net, “Online tools 'decentralising disaster relief efforts'
Interview in “Haiti Leaders, BU Team Share Long-Term Goals,” BU Today, January 25, 2010.
Interview in “Stimulus: Economic Boon or Bloated Bust,” BU Today, February 3, 2009.
Interviewed by Richard Thompson in “Off Campus, Council Says Five is a Crowd,” Boston Globe, March 2, 2008.

Conference Presentations
“Planificacion Imposible? Haiti y Las Soberanias en Competencia.” Keynote, Megacities and Informality Conference, Valparaiso, Chile, November 2011.

“Planning Haiti: Competing Sovereignties and Crisis of Discipline.” Association of Collegiate Schools in Planning, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2011.

“Governing and Planning the Sustainable City.” Sustainability in the City, Boston University Alumni College of Arts & Society, Boston, Mass., June 10–12, 2011.

“Bridging Gaps: Political, Logistical and Cultural Innovations that Translate Knowledge into Action.” 2nd Annual Humanitarian Studies Conference, Tufts University, Medford, Mass., May 2011.

“Planning Haiti: Reflections on a Year of Hopes and Complexity.” When Disaster Strikes: Reporting and Responding, Boston University College of Communications Journalism Conference, Boston, Mass., April 2011.

“Haiti: Planning’s Major Challenge.” Guest Lecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology course Big Plans, Megaprojects. Cambridge, Mass., April 2011.

“Port-au-Prince Political: Fighting for the Political Identity of a Capital City.” Caribbean Cityscapes Conference, Rutgers University, Newark, N.J., February 2011.

“Haiti: The Humanitarian Conundrum.” BU College of Arts & Sciences course North–South Relations, Boston, Mass., February 2011.

“Planning Haiti: Competing Sovereignties and the Crisis of Discipline.” Edge Series: Urban and Regional Conversations, Boston University, Boston, Mass., 2011.

“Planning Haiti: Competing Sovereignties and the Crisis of Discipline.” Boston University Latin American Studies Program, Boston, Mass., November 10, 2010.

“Haiti: Past, Present and Future.” Post-Earthquake Assessment, Massachusetts Department of Transportation. 2010.

“Access Denied: Urban Highways and Political Impasse in Santiago, Chile 1997–2007.” Symposium on Citizenship and the Environment in Latin America, Simon Fraser University, Canada, April 22–25, 2010.

“Haiti’s Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Process (PDNA): A Preliminary Report.” After the Cameras Have Gone: Rebuilding Sustainable Communities in Haiti after the January Earthquake, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Mass., April 2010.

“Future Challenges: Dealing with Disasters, on Haiti and the Challenges of Post-Earthquake Reconstruction.” Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future Workshop, Boston University, Boston, Mass., March 30, 2010.

“What’s Next for Haiti?” Boston University Stands with Haiti, Boston, Mass., February 28, 2010.

Since 2004, Dr. Silva has given talks and participated in the annual conferences of the following associations:

The Association of Collegiate Schools in Planning
The Urban Affairs Association
The Latin American Studies Association