Marianne F. Potvin studies the intersection of humanitarianism and urbanism, with the aim to uncover the spatial logics of humanitarian interventions. Drawing on critical urban theory, science technology and society studies as well as critical legal studies, she seeks to define new linkages between humanitarian law - particularly the notion of “humanitarian space”- and the idea of a “right to the city” for refugees and other forcibly displaced individuals.
With a focus on conflict areas, Marianne has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international NGOs. While based in the field, she oversaw projects of water distribution for victims of armed conflict in Iraq (2011), and managed urban rehabilitation projects for internally displaced people and returning refugees in Afghanistan (2009-2010). In Kabul, Marianne also co-chaired the technical arm of the Emergency Shelter Cluster where she participated in reviewing shelter policies with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). She has also participated in construction projects in Sudanese refugee camps on the border of Darfur (2007-2008).
Marianne is a licensed architect and has worked in design practices in the West Bank, Canada, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. She holds a B.Sc in Architecture and a M.Arch. from the University of Montreal. In 2013, she received a Master in Design Studies in Risk and Resilience, with distinction, from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she was awarded the Dimitris Pikionis Award for outstanding performance in her program. Marianne is also a member of the Urban Theory Lab at the GSD. In 2014, she presented her work on “Humanitarian Urbanism” at the UN-Habitat Conference on the Non-Formal Metropolis in Munich, and at the Harvard Design for Urban Disaster Conference.