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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

LLILAS Grad Student Sara McTarnaghan Wins BRASA Award

Posted: April 14, 2014
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Sara McTarnaghan, a master’s degree candidate at LLILAS pursuing a joint degree in Community and Regional Planning, is a recipient of the prestigious Brazilian Initiative Scholarship Award for 2014, given by the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA). McTarnaghan received the award for a project planned for summer 2014 in which she will evaluate public housing policy in Brazil.

During a two-month stay in Rio de Janeiro, McTarnaghan will examine Brazil’s demand-based housing program, Minha Casa, Minha Vida, begun in 2009. Her research will include interviews and focus groups with public housing residents, municipal government actors, civil servants, and more. For her master’s thesis, McTarnaghan will compare the Brazilian program with theolder subsidized housing program in Chile,begun in the late 1970s.

Scholarly research has revealed the problematic side of Chile’s policy, wherein poor regional planning has led to further regional segregation, poor construction quality, and residential units that are quickly deteriorating.McTarnaghan hopes to explore new perspectives on the accomplishments and challenges of demand-based housing policy in both countries, questioning accepted notions of what constitutes success in shelter and poverty eradication programs. Ultimately, this could be articulated, she says, in the form of policy recommendations for housing based in both design and socioeconomic sustainability. 

Sara McTarnaghan was raised in the San Francisco Bay area. She has spent the last several years living and working in Washington, D.C., as well as the capital cities of several Latin American countries. She graduated in 2011 from George Washington University with a bachelor of arts in international affairs and a minor in Spanish language and literature. After graduation, she worked in Santiago de Chile at TECHO, a local organization focused on housing and regional development.

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