Marcela González Rivas

Associate Professor

Marcela González Rivas is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is on the faculty advisory board of the Center for Latin American Studies. She is also a permanent member of the PWSA’s Low Income Assistance Advisory Committee and leads the Ford Institute Working Group “Closing the Water Gap.”  Her central research interests revolve around sustainable water policy, equity, and water governance. More specifically, her research focuses on how uneven access to water varies across communities and regions, and how community development, policy, and planning can exacerbate or diminish such inequalities with particular concentration on Mexico and Latin America. For example, some of her research has looked at why indigenous communities in Mexico have particularly low levels of water access, and how in particular contexts, community development processes can alter this trend. More recently, her research and teaching focus on COVID-19 responses to water access protection in the US as well as on Pittsburgh’s water challenges in aiming to achieve sustainability and the equity dynamics that are at play.

Her work has been published in the Annals of Regional Science, Community Development, Development in Practice, Latin American Research Review, Mexican Studies, Water Policy, Town Planning Review, Utilities Policy, and the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis. She has taught courses on the subjects of urban and regional development and planning in developing nations, immigration, international institutions, research design, and urban spatial structure. For several consecutive years, she has also led an international policy and planning workshop, where graduate students travel to Mexico or Colombia to study various government programs.

Courses Taught

  • PIA 2125: City and Region: Theory and Practice
  • PIA 2740: Planning and Analysis of Sustainable Regions
  • PIA 2501: Development Policy and Administration
  • PIA 2096 Capstone Course: Policy and Planning in Developing Countries

    Education & Training

  • Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA)
  • M.Sc. in Development Studies, London School of Economics (UK)
  • B.A. in International Relations, University of the Americas (Mexico)
Recent Publications
Research Interests
  • Water governance
  • Sustainable development
  • Regional inequality
  • Community development
  • Human right to water