Barbara Brown Wilson



The University of Texas at Austin, PhD in Community & Regional Planning, Concentration in Sustainable Development; Master of Arts in Architectural History; The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Minor in Music Performance


Barbara Brown Wilson’s research and teaching focus on the history, theory, ethics, and practice of sustainable community design and development, and on the role of urban social movements in the built world. Dr. Brown Wilson writes for both academic and mainstream audiences, and is the author of Resilience for All: Striving for Equity through Community-Driven Design (Island Press: 2018), and co-author of Questioning Architectural Judgement: The Problem of Codes in the United States (Routledge: 2013). Her research is often change-oriented, meaning she collaborates with community partners to identify opportunities for engaged and integrated sustainable community development that creates knowledge to serve both local and educational communities. She is also a co-founder and the former faculty director of the UVA Democracy Initiative Center for the Redress of Inequity through Community-Engaged Scholarship (aka The Equity Center).

Wilson teaches required classes in the MUEP program, including Methods of Community Engagement and Research and Planning Theory and Practice, as well as interdisciplinary electives such as Climate Justice in Cities and Ecological Democracy. In her classes, students grapple with complex socio-environmental problems like climate change and structural inequities, and develop not only technical skills, but also skills of cultural competency and empathy. In Ecological Democracy, students work with a local community group to apply their skills in collaboration with the local knowledge of their traditionally underserved partners to propose co-designed ideas to community-driven projects.


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