Barbara Wilson headshot
BW

Barbara Brown Wilson

Associate Professor
Unit: School of Architecture
Department: Department of Urban and Environmental Planning
Office location and address
Peyton House 105
110 Bayly Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Education
Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Biography

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. 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.

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 Sustainable Community Design 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.

ACPS Summer Programs
Source: Albemarle County
June 22, 2021 – July 30, 2021
AR-PLAN Designing a Community-Engages APproach to Pre-Development Social Impact Analysis
Source: Surdna Foundation
May 01, 2017 – August 31, 2019
AR- Resident-Driven Redevelopment at Friendship Court
Source: Jessie Ball Dupont Fund
February 03, 2016 – August 31, 2018
AR Design Futures: Public Interest Design Student Leadership Program
Source: U.S. Nfah - Nat'L Endowment For The Arts
July 01, 2015 – October 31, 2016
AR-Understanding the Paths to Pier 42 Project: Evaluating Community Engaged Design Impacts on the East River Waterfront
Source: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
December 01, 2015 – September 15, 2016
ARCH 3500: Special Topics in Architecture
Credits: 3
Topical offerings in architecture.
PLAN 3810: Climate Justice in Cities
Credits: 3
This course introduces design & systems thinking techniques to address the interrelated crises of climate change & social inequity in U.S. cities. It asks how such transformational change might work - examining the socio-technical context,challenges, & opportunities that animate systems change in the built world. Students will learn through readings,discussions,lectures, & workshops to develop interdisciplinary creative problem-solving skills
PLAN 3813: Community-Engaged Methods
Credits: 3
This class explores methods of inquiry that share power in the production of knowledge, & that honor both technical & lived expertise. We will discuss theoretical & ethical frames for the co-production of scholarship, what it means to be an action-oriented scholar & workshop participatory action research techniques including photovoice, appreciative inquiry,counter-mapping.
PLAN 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–4
Elective courses offered at the request of faculty or students to provide an opportunity for internships, fieldwork, and independent study.
PLAN 5500: Special Topics in Planning
Credits: 1–4
Varies annually to meet the needs of graduate students.
PLAN 5810: Toward the Resilient City
Credits: 3
Examines sustainable communities and the environmental, social, economic, political, and design standards that underlie them. Focuses on reviewing case studies of cities, towns, and development projects that reflect principles of sustainability. Graduate course will have additional course requirements.
PLAC 5812: Ecological Democracy
Credits: 3
Students will participate in community engaged design and/or research activities that help better connect people with their environments. Subject matter might include civic environmentalism, greening alleys and other semi-public spaces, climate change education, sustainable design, etcetera.
PLAN 5993: Applied Independent Study
Credits: 1–4
Individual study directed by a faculty member. Prerequisite: Planning faculty approval of topic.
PLAC 5993: Applied Independent Study
Credits: 1–6
Applied independent study.
PLAN 6020: Methods of Community Research and Engagement
Credits: 3
Explores methods beyond the conventional town-hall meeting to gather insights from communities on planning issues. Topics will include more traditional methods of qualitative research such as focus groups, interviews, charrettes, participatory action research, and scenario planning, as well as strategies like asset mapping, visual preference surveys, games, art-based visioning, participatory budgeting.
PLAN 6070: Planning Theory and Practice
Credits: 3
In this course students grapple with the dynamic tensions between planning and democracy, the various responses that have been proposed, and planning failures and successes. They explore the development of theories about how we ought to plan, why, and for whom.
PLAN 6813: Community-Engaged Methods
Credits: 3
This class explores methods of inquiry that share power in the production of knowledge, & that honor both technical & lived expertise. We will discuss theoretical & ethical frames for the co-production of scholarship, what it means to be an action-oriented scholar & workshop participatory action research techniques including photovoice, appreciative inquiry,counter-mapping. Graduate course will have additional course requirements.
PLAN 7993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–4
Independent research on topics selected by individual students in consultation with a faculty advisor.
PLAN 8020: Methods of Community Research and Engagement
Credits: 3
Explores methods beyond the conventional town-hall meeting to gather insights from communities on planning issues.Topics will include more traditional methods of qualitative research such as focus groups, interviews, charrettes, participatory action research, & scenario planning, as well as strategies like asset mapping, visual preference surveys, games, art-based visioning, participatory budgeting. Ph.D students will undertake additional course requirements.
PLAN 8070: Planning Theory and Practice
Credits: 3
In this course students grapple with the dynamic tensions between planning and democracy, the various responses that have been proposed, and planning failures and successes. They explore the development of theories about how we ought to plan, why, and for whom. This course will have additional course requirements compared to PLAN 6070.
PLAN 8500: Advanced Special Topics in Planning
Credits: 1–3
Varies annually to meet the needs of graduate students.
SARC 8812: Ecological Democracy
Credits: 3
Students will participate in community engaged design and/or research activities that help better connect people with their environments. Subject matter might include civic environmentalism, greening alleys and other semi-public spaces, climate change education, sustainable design, etcetera.
PLAN 8993: Independent Studies in Urban and Environmental Planning
Credits: 1–4
Advanced work on independent research topics by individual students. Departmental approval of the topic is required.
PLAN 8994: Thesis
Credits: 3–6
Preparation and completion of a thesis.
PLAN 8999: Master's Thesis
Credits: 3–6
A thesis is optional for the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree. Students should begin early to explore topics and to identify potential committee members. A guideline document is available.
SARC 9998: Non-Topical Doctoral Prep
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

Select Awards/Honors

“ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen by Jeana Ripple and Barbara Brown Wilson in Gary, Indiana,” in Architectural Record, April 1, 2017

SEED Network Award: Honorable Mention for Excellence in Community Engagement, ArtHouse Gary, with Barbara Brown Wilson, ArtHouse Gary, Latent Design, 2017

Recognized in the “40 Under 40” Leaders “Designing for Social Good” in academic realms by Autodesk Foundation’s Impact Design Hub, 2016

First Place, Surface Competition, Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored Public Art Challenge: ArtHouse Gary International Competition; with Ripple Architecture Studio, 2016

First Place, Illumination Competition, Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored Public Art Challenge: ArtHouse Gary International Competition; with Ripple Architecture Studio, 2016

Great Places Award for Research on the Green Alley Project, Environmental Design Research Association, 2014

Austin Community Design and Development Center, AIA Austin Community Vision Award, 2013

Tower Outstanding Academic Service-Learning Professor Award, University of Texas at Austin Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement, 2013

Sustainability and Ethics Curriculum Development Award, University of Texas at Austin, 2013

Cale McDowell Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2012

Recognized as one of the “Public Interest Design 100” Leaders in the Field, Design Observer Blog, December 5, 2012

Local Hero Award, Bank of America, Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, Austin, 2010

Austin Community Design and Development Center, Greenlights Nonprofit Award for Excellence in Collaboration, 2009

Alley Flat Initiative, Envision Central Texas Community Stewardship Award for Redevelopment, 2009

Alley Flat Initiative, United States Green Building Council Excellence in Green Building Curriculum, 2008

Award for Outstanding Service to the Underserved, Structures for Inclusion, 2008