Area(s)Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation + Regionalism
J. B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning in Albuquerque, and founding director of its Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program, Chris Wilson, has written widely on architecture, tourism and the politics of culture in the Southwest, and on cultural landscape studies. His current focus is on the role of the on-going reurbanization of the U.S. as a central sustainability strategy.
Southwest. His co-authored book, La Tierra Amarilla: Its History, Architecture and Cultural Landscape (1991), won the Downing Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, and has been lauded as a model for cultural landscape studies. Noted historian Ramon Gutierrez has called Wilson’s The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Traditions (1997), "... a truly superb book. It deserves a wide and serious reading. Literary scholars will be inspired by its narrative strategies. Historians will marvel at its engagement with theory and its rich and varied uses of archival sources. And bibliophiles and lovers of things Santa Fean will delight in the book’s wonderful vignettes." It received the Villagra Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the Cummings Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum. If The Myth of Santa Fe deconstructs that quintessential American tourist town, his Facing Southwest: The Life and Houses of John Gaw Meem (2001) sings the virtues of one of its leading citizens and of the regional design tradition he helped to sustain.
Cultural Landscape Studies. Everyday America: Cultural Landscape Studies After J. B. Jackson, co-edited with Paul Groth (2003), provides an assessment of Jackson’s contribution to the field, approaches to teaching landscape, the theoretical underpinnings of the field, and exemplary case studies of 20th Century landscapes. My Kind of American Landscape: J. B. Jackson Speaks. Chicago, co-editor with Janet Mendelsohn and Miguel Gandert, forthcoming from University of Chicago Press, features essays on Jackson’s career, and a DVD with two historic documentaries about Jackson’s ideas, portfolios of his drawings and teaching slides, contemporary interviews about his ongoing impact in a half dozen professions and fields of study.
Reurbanization. His collaboration with Miguel Gandert, Stefanos Polyzoides and others Center Place: The Plazas of New Mexico if forthcoming from Trinity University Press. The book analyzes the history of Pueblo, Hispanic and Anglo planning traditions--exemplified by 22 classic communities--and surveys work over the past 15 years to revitalize existing community spaces and to create new ones. As a Clements Fellow at Southern Methodist University (Fall 2006) and Paul Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library (Spring 2007) Wilson initiated research on his next book, A Field Guide to Cool Neighborhoods, a study of pedestrian neighborhoods in the U. S. before and after the automobile.