Ellen Dunham-Jones

Professor; Director, Urban Design Program


A.B. in Architecture and Planning, Princeton University, 1980
Master of Architecture, Princeton University, 1983
Registered Architect in New York state, 1989-2015


Retrofitting Suburbia, Suburban Retrofits, Suburban Redevelopment, Dead Malls, Post-Industrial Landscape, New Urbanism, autonomous vehicles, Redesigning Cities


Ellen is Director of the Master of Science in Urban Design degree, an authority on sustainable suburban redevelopment, and a leading urbanist. Author of over 60 articles linking contemporary theory and practice, she is co-author with June Williamson of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, (Wiley, 2009, 2011) Its documentation of successful retrofits of aging big box stores, malls, and office parks into healthier and more sustainable places received a PROSE award as the best architecture and urban planning book of 2009 and has been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Harvard Business Review, NPR, PBS, TED, and other prominent venues. She serves on several national boards and committees, is former Chair of the Board of the Congress for the New Urbanism, lectures widely, and conducts community workshops. In both her teaching and research she focuses on helping communities address the 21st-century challenges that they were never designed for – whether that’s through her unique database of successful suburban retrofits or studio classes on anticipating autonomous vehicles, coping with climate change or suburban blight.  She taught at UVA and MIT before joining Georgia Tech as Architecture Program Director from 2000-2009.


Dunham-Jones, E. & Williamson, J. Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. 256 pages. First printing December 2008, second printing in May 2009, third printing in January 2010, the updated paperback edition printed in March 2011.

Parts of Books:

Dunham-Jones, E., “Foreword: Atlanta, Public Health, and New Urbanism?” in Lerner J. (Ed.), Building Metropolitan Atlanta: Past, Present & Future, (pp.1-2), www.lulu.com, 2010.

Dunham-Jones, E., “Free Trade Zones, Downtown Financial Cores, and Sprawl: the Landscapes of Globalization “ in Owen G., (Ed.), Architecture, Ethics, & Globalization, (pp. 17-32), London: Taylor & Francis, 2009

Dunham-Jones, E., “New Urbanism: A Forum, not a Formula” in Hass T., (Ed.), New Urbanism and Beyond: Designing Cities for the Future, (pp.70-73) New York, Rizzoli. 2008

Re-publication of “New Urbanism’s Subversive Marketing” (2005) in Blauvelt A, (Ed.), Worlds Away, New Suburban Landscapes, New York, D.A.P. 2008. Catalog to an exhibition of the same name at the Walker Art Center, Heinz Architectural Center, and Yale School of Architecture.

Re-publication of “New Urbanism, A Counter-Project to Post-Industrialism” (2000) in Kelbaugh D. & McCullogh K. (Eds.), Writing Urbanism, An ACSA Reader, (pp.185-193) London, Routledge, 2008

Dunham-Jones, E., “Economic Sustainability in the Post-Industrial Landscape,” commissioned essay in Tanzer K., and Longoria R. (Eds.), The Green Braid, Towards an Architecture of Ecology Economy, and Equity, An ACSA Reader. (pp.44-59) London, Routledge, 2007

Dunham-Jones E., “Seventy-Five Percent” and “Smart Growth in Atlanta” republished in Saunders, W. S., (Ed.), Sprawl and Suburbia, A Harvard Design Magazine Reader, (pp.1-20 and 57-70) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005

Dunham-Jones, E. “New Urbanism’s Subversive Marketing,” in M. Shamiyeh (Ed.), What People Want, Populism in Architecture and Design (pp.255-269). Basel, Birkhauser, 2005

Guest column on retrofitting dead malls for The Wall Street Journal

Guest column on new public space in Metro Atlanta

“Dead and Dying Shopping Malls Re-inhabited,” Architectural Design, Profile no. 249

Studio Report: Downtown Atlanta 2041: Autonomous Vehicles and A-Street Grids

“The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas” –named One of the Ten Most Popular Essays of 2013 by The Design Observer Group

Solicited Room for Debate blog posts for The New York TimesGentrify Those Parking LotsHow to Fix That Ugly Strip, and Downsizing and Retrofitting the Housing Market

Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley, 2009, 2011, mandarin edition in 2013)

Architectural Record’s 2018 Woman Educator of the year

#71 on Planetizen’s list of the Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists (of all time!)

Ellen’s MSUD students have won 12 design competition placements in 7 years

Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism

Fellow of the Brooks Byers Institute of Sustainable Systems, GA Tech

2010 Subaru Professor of Excellence for the College of Design, GA Tech

Retrofitting Suburbia won the PROSE award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence from the Association of American Publishers as the 2009 best book of the year in architecture and urban planning

Retrofitting Suburbia featured in Time Magazine March 23, 2009 Cover Story “10 ideas changing the world right now” 

Guest Professor, Tongji University, China, 2014

Ogden Lecturer, Monash University, Australia, 2011

Visiting Fellow in Sustainable Urban Development, Simon Frasier University, Canada, 2010

Ax:son Johnson Visiting Professor, Lund University, Sweden, 2006-2007

Urban Design Studio

Theories of Urban Design

Retrofitting Suburbia

Coordination of the ULI Hines Student Competition

Select Video & Podcast Links

Ellen’s 2010 TEDx Atlanta talk on Retrofitting Suburbia was selected amongst the best TED talks by Huffington Post, Cyburbia, Archininja, Landscape Institute, and TEDTalks Architecture playlist. It was followed by a TED-NPR Radio Hour in 2012.

2017 podcast with Adam Conover, host of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything, after Ellen’s cameo on the show.

Ellen spoke and co-organized with Newsweek magazine this symposium on How Driverless Cars will Change the World. Her panel starts at 2:07:35.   

Steve Inskeep’s 2014 interview with Ellen on re-uses of dead shopping malls on NPR Morning Edition

“Retrofitting Suburbia for 21st Century Challenges” at the University of Tennessee.

Voice of America podcast “Trapped! US Suburban Life Loses its Luster”

“Why Urban Design Trumps Architecture,” Shoptalk interview with Nathan Koskovich AIA Atlanta’s Architecture and Design Center

“Who Designs the City? Contemporary Debates in Urbanism,” Graduate School of Urban Studies and Planning, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia