Faculty Biography


Miriam Chion

Assistant Professor of Community Development and Planning
Department of International Development, Community, and Environment
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

(508) 793-8832 phone
email: mchion@clarku.edu
Read a profile of Miriam Chion

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Courses Offered

IDCE 304
Comparative Community Development syllabus.

IDCE 30240
Community Planning Studio syllabus.

Current Research and Teaching

Interests: Urban and economic development, community organizing and participation, urban growth, comparative international policies, and Latin America.

Professor Chion has an expertise in community and regional development. This expertise has been strengthened by her research work in the United States and Latin America, comparing dissimilar communities that share similar challenges, and by her professional work as senior planning manager for the San Francisco Planning Department. In this role, Chion was in charge of community planning, land use analysis, and economic policies, with oversight of municipal planners involved zoning controls, land use legislation, social-economic analysis and GIS. Her research centers on the recent development of urban centers in Latin American cities, particularly a comparison of the multiple spatial and political responses from local governments and community-based organizations to the penetration of global forces. She has taught at UC Berkeley and conducted professional and graduate seminars in Colombia and Peru, focusing on community and regional planning with emphasis on an international comparative analysis of development options.

Chion is currently working on a book manuscript that explores using the concept of spatial capital to highlight the ability of marginal urban actors, Latino community, artists, and workers, to produce valuable urban qualities and the contradictions of the consumption process led by a strong wave of high income and professional population in San Francisco, California. The manuscript further explores the city’s transition from a diversified place of production to a homogeneous place of consumption and proposes. Among her other publication endeavors, Chion recently co-authored with Wiley Ludena the chapter “Lima’s Historic Center: Reconstituted Old Places Shaping New Social De-Arrangements” in Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events: Democracy, Citizenship, and Public Space in Latin America. (New York: Routledge, 2008).

Chion has continued her active engagement in the Difficult Dialogues (DD) program at Clark. She participated in the DD National Conference at the Ford Foundation in New York. It was attended by all 27 schools, which included a broad range, from La Guardia Community College to Barnard College to Yale University. Chion will be working on an assessment of the program and a final report for the Ford Foundation in the next couple of months.

Chion presented her paper “The cultural production of restaurants, the case of San Francisco’s inner city neighborhoods” at the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco (April 2007), the paper “Production of Street Life in San Francisco” at the Spatial Justice International Conference at the University of Paris in X-Nanterre, France (March 2008), and her paper “Dance and urban qualities in San Francisco” at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning annual conference in Milwaukee (September 2007).



"Lima's Historic Center: Old Places Shaping New Social Arrangements" in Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events, Routledge, London - New York, to be published 2005.

"San Francisco: Industrias Fugaces o la Urbanidad en Ocaso" (San Francisco: Transient industries or the Decline of the Urban Condition) in ur[b]es, Revista de Ciudad, Urbanismo, y Paisaje, Lima, Peru, published 2005.

"Dimensión Metropolitana de la Globalización: El Caso de Lima a fines del siglo XX" (Metropolitan Dimension of Globalization: The Case of Metropolitan Lima at the end of the 20th Century) in EURE, Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Urbano Regionales, Santiago, Chile, December 2002.

"Gamarra, Perú: De Barrio Marginal a Centro Metropolitano" (Gamarra, Peru: From Marginal Neighborhood to Metropolitan Center) in CIPMA Ambiente y Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile, March 2001.

Professional Reports

Community Planning in the Eastern Neighborhoods, Rezoning Options Workbook, San Francisco Planning Department, February 2003.

Industrial Land in San Francisco: Understanding Production, Distribution, and Repair Activities, San Francisco Planning Department, July 2002.

Profiles of Eastern Neighborhoods, Community Planning Process, San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco, January 2002.