Veronica Herrera

Veronica Herrera

Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Political Science


Ph.D. in Political Science, U.C. Berkeley, B.A., Swarthmore College

Areas of Interest:

Environmental Politics, Latin America, Plastics, Political Economy of Development, Qualitative Methods, Urban Politics, Waste, Water Policy


Office Location:


Veronica Herrera studies the politics of development in Global South cities with a focus on Latin America. Her research interests include urban politics, decentralization, civil society participation, social mobilization, and environmental politics and policymaking. Dr. Herrera is also an expert on water policy in international development. She is the author of Water and Politics: Clientelism and Reform in Urban Mexico (University of Michigan Press, 2017), which received the Dennis Judd Best Book Award from the Urban and Local Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Dr. Herrera received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Dr. Herrera’s new book is titled, Slow Harms and Citizen Action: Environmental Degradation and Policy Change in Latin American Cities (Oxford University Press, 2023 Forthcoming).  For the millions of communities around the world where pollution is a slow moving, long-standing problem, residents born into toxic exposure often perceive pollution as part of the everyday landscape, particularly in low-resource settings. Local communities may also be both victims of pollution and complicit in perpetrating it themselves. When and how do people mobilize around slow harms? In Slow Harms and Citizen Action, Dr. Herrera chronicles the struggle against toxic exposure in urban Latin America by comparing advocacy movements for river pollution remediation in the capital regions of Argentina, Colombia, and Peru. Herrera explains how citizen-led efforts helped create environmental governance and activated the state’s regulatory capacity. Developing new insights on citizen-led environmental regulation, Slow Harms and Citizen Action sheds new light on the struggles for environmental justice in Latin America.

Dr. Herrera is the recipient of several national awards including the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the Clarence Stone Young Scholars Award from the American Political Science Association’s Urban and Local Politics Section. She has been a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, and the Latin American Studies Center at UC Berkeley. Dr. Herrera’s work has been published in Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics and Society, PS: Political Science and PoliticsPerspective on Politics, and World Development.

Dr. Herrera is working on new projects on urban waste management, plastics, and landfills in the Global South. She is particularly interested in the connection between informal recyclers (waste pickers) and urban sustainability, the global waste trade in plastics, recycling markets, and the links between waste, environment, and politics. In Fall 2023, she is offering a new Masters of Urban Planning course, “Waste, Environment, and Society.”

Professor Herrera’s Courses at Luskin:

PA 112: Social Movements

PA 159: Politics of Water in the Global South

UP 239: Regional and International Development Special Topics: Urban Politics in the Global South

UP 269: Environmental Analysis and Policy: Waste, Environment, and Society