Jessie Zarazaga, PhD., RIBA LeedAP, Hunt Institute Fellow

Dr. Jessie Zarazaga, PhD, RIBA LeedAP is a Hunt Institute Fellow, Director of the Master of Arts in Sustainability and Development, Director of the Initiative for Spatial Literacy, and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Lyle School of Engineering housed in Southern Methodist University.

Zarazaga has long been associated with the Institute since its founding and continues to collaborate across various initiatives including being influential in bringing The James Pratt Collection to be housed in the Institute. Recent projects partnering with the Hunt Institute’s Global Development Lab include the South Dallas Soul Rep Black Theater project, the Kijiji Project Phase I and currently working on Phase II.

Working across the boundaries of urbanism, landscape mapping, and public engagement, Zarazaga explores ways to connect culture and community to place. Using GIS and participatory community mapping, she explores the impact of civil and environmental choices on the design of the sustainable city. Her research spans education and practice, working on the integration of community research into project based learning.  Her work overlaps areas of GIS mapping, global sustainable urbanism, design and creativity. She undertook a Fulbright in Valparaíso, Chile, to investigate, and map, devices of landscape as inspirations for the orders of community space. Zarazaga approaches teaching in an engaging way with her students encouraging them to learn through hands-on projects that connect to a local community.

Zarazaga speaks to the Fall 2020 Kijiji Project, “The energy and focus invested in the Kijiji project is valuable for the village of Kasisa, Tanzania, but it is equally valuable for the skills of my students, as future sustainability professionals. It is not enough to talk about sustainability, it is not an abstract activity. Each solution is embedded in a real situation with people and territory; this is where learning takes place.”

You can read more about her work on her personal website and watch Zarazaga’ presentation at TEDxSMU in 2012.


PhD in Engineering, Applied Science, 2019 SMU, Dallas, USA

“GIS Mapping as a Catalyst for Creative Site Design in Engineering Education”

PhD History & Theory of Arch. (abd) , 2002 AA, London, UK (withdrawn)

“Scaling Territories: The Operation of Landscape devices In the Urban Field”

RIBA Part III, 1998 Architectural Association, London UK

MA Dip. Arch. RIBA Part II, 1993 Cambridge University, UK

M Arch II (visiting. Scholar)1992 Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, USA

BA Hons in Architecture (First Class), 1990 Cambridge University, UK

BA Theatre Design (cum laude), 1987 Williams College, USA

1983 Walnut Hill School of the Performing Arts, Boston

1982 Maru a Pula Secondary School, Gaborone, Botswana


LEED AP, Accredited Professional, USGBC, since 2009

RIBA, Licensed Architect, Royal Institute of British Architects, (RIBA: 6392203), ARB 1984 (ARB: 062528K), 1998

AIA international associate, American Institute of Architects, 2001

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