Core Faculty

Bev Wilson

Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009

Bev Wilson's research focuses on the linkages between land use policy, development patterns, and their implications for both environmental and social outcomes. He is also interested in the livability of small towns and rural communities and believes that planners can play a significant role in successfully meeting the many issues these areas face. The use of geographic information systems (GIS), spatial data analysis, and documentary video techniques to inform better planning and decision-making is a key thread connecting his research and teaching.

Professor Wilson teaches Urban History and Theory (UP 504), part of the core curriculum and a requirement for incoming Master's students. Advanced Applications of GIS (UP 519) builds on basic GIS concepts and techniques with a particular emphasis on the urban context, theory and tools of spatial analysis, and direct exposure to software using real-world data. An undergraduate course called Chicago: Planning and Urban Life (UP 204) provides an introduction to urban planning using the city of Chicago as a semester-long case study. Professor Wilson also teaches the Small Town and Rural Planning Workshop (UP 457, formerly UP 494-BW), which allows students to apply what they have learned in other courses outside the classroom and beyond the boundaries of Champaign-Urbana. Participants in this course engage with small towns and rural communities in central Illinois in order to better understand their challenges and to help develop solutions.

Wilson received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2009. He also holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science from Duke University. Prior to returning to UNC-Chapel Hill for his doctoral studies, he worked as a Spatial Analyst with the NOAA Coastal Services Center's Coastal Remote Sensing Program in Charleston, SC. Professor Wilson is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) faculty research group, and is a founding director of the Urban & Regional Sustainability Lab (URSULA).

Contact Information
Room 224 Temple Buell Hall
611 Taft Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
Phone: 217.244.1761
Fax: 217.244.1717

Current Research Areas

Video as a tool for engaging small communities and collaboratively planning for community and economic development.

Mixed methods analysis of how regional opportunity structures, both real and perceived, influence migration patterns and shape life outcomes for rural Americans (with Prof. Andrew Greenlee).

Researching the nexus of new formal and informal settlements in the megacities of developing countries (with Prof. Arnab Chakraborty, seed funding from an FAA Creative Research Award).

Leveraging parcel-level spatial data to understand annexation processes and their equity implications in Voting Rights Act states (with Prof. Mary Edwards).

Selected Publications

Berg, K. and B. Wilson. A multilevel analysis of private vehicle evacuation clearance times along the U.S. Gulf coast. Forthcoming, Environmental Hazards.

Wilson, B. and M.M. Edwards. Annexation and ethnicity in the American Midwest. Forthcoming, Urban Affairs Review.

Wilson, B. and A. Chakraborty. 2013. The environmental impacts of sprawl: Emergent themes from the past decade of planning research. Sustainability 5 (8): 3302-3327.

Wilson, B. 2013. Urban form and residential electricity consumption: Evidence from Illinois, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 115: 62-71.

Wilson, B. 2012. An examination of electricity consumption patterns in manufactured housing units. Housing Policy Debate 22 (2): 175-199.

Wilson, B. and Y. Song. 2011. Do large residential subdivisions induce further development? A spatially explicit hazard analysis of land use change. Journal of the American Planning Association 77 (1): 5-22.

Wilson, B. and Y. Song. 2009. Comparing apples with apples: How different are recent residential development patterns in Portland and Charlotte? Journal of Urbanism 2 (1): 51-74.


Bev Wilson