As visiting faculty for 2019-2020 in urban studies, Christina Wirsching is teaching The Urban Experience and Research Methods: GIS this fall, and Latinx Urban Planning and Justice and the City in the spring semester. She is trained as both a planning practitioner and social scientist, specializing in social and environmental justice in planning, with degrees in community and regional planning (PhD expected in 2019) and geography from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a National Science Foundation IGERT (Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) fellow in sustainable energy and energy grids, as well as a participant in the graduate portfolio program in Mexican American Studies, at UT Austin.
Originally from Laredo, Texas, her interdisciplinary research examines the multilayered contexts in and of planning to critically inform community planning and scholarship. Her master's thesis examined the controversy within the historical context of the Holly Street Power Plant and surrounding Mexican American neighborhood, connecting to her deep familial ties in this East Austin, Texas neighborhood. Her dissertation research incorporates traditional impact assessments and spatial analyses of communities effected by the oil and gas industry with histories of governance and land development, with the goal of painting a more nuanced picture of vulnerabilities and resilience in a border landscape. She conducted her study along the Texas-Mexico border in Webb County, Texas, where Laredo is the county seat. She is defending her dissertation this fall.
Christina is interested in teaching from the intersections of critical pedagogical studies, planning, and social science scholarship, incorporating topics in urban planning and governance, Latinx border studies, energy and the environment, and research methods. She aims to create an empowering academic and experiential student learning environment that recognizes and celebrates students’ personal and geographic backgrounds while equipping students with knowledge and tools to ultimately give back to their own communities.
Christina has served as a member of the UT Austin School of Architecture Diversity Task Force, part of the leadership teams of student organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, and, in her professional pre-graduate school life, worked in undergraduate admissions and academic student affairs, and graduate recruitment for historically underrepresented student populations at UT Austin. Christina also worked as a planner and/or researcher for the City of Austin (Solid Waste Services, the Mayor’s Office), Texas Natural Resources Information Systems, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers), and the Center for Sustainable Development at UT Austin.