Andrea Urbina-Julio's main academic interest includes research in urban planning, housing policy, and urban governance, focusing on the Global South, especially in Latin America. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in Urban Projects from the Catholic University of Chile (PUC). Her masters thesis analyzed Santiago's densification processes and its socio-political implications, specifically on the consequences of "unplanned" densification for the built environment and the communities involved.
Prior to joining the Ph.D. program at Cornell, Andrea worked on research projects on the impact of intensive residential densification in the re-structure of the city, focusing on the urban morphology and urban regulation in Santiago, Chile. As a member of the housing “9x18” lab at PUC, she conducted research on urban renewal, promoting new ways to regenerate small plots which were given to families in a housing policy established in the 1960s where families could build their own housing solutions. Currently, she is studying the informal rental dynamics in these self-build neighborhoods.
Andrea has also worked as an architect in Chile and Sweden, and as an urban practitioner in the planning unit of two local governments in Santiago. Ultimately, her Ph.D. research aims to analyze the new renting trends in Latin American cities, specifically under the Corporate Landlord model focusing on two cities: Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Broadly, she argues that the emergence of these trends in Latin American cities has increased housing financialization under a new model that promotes the financial market operation through a verticalization process.