Ginette Wessel

Ginette Wessel Faculty Picture
Ginette WesselAssociate Professor of Architecture

Contact Information

(401) 254-3602gwessel@rwu.eduAR 256


Ph.D. Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

M.Arch. University of North Carolina, Charlotte

M.A. Geography, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

B.S. Architecture, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Ginette Wessel is Associate Professor of Architecture in the Cummings School of Architecture where she teaches courses in social and cultural factors, research methods, urban planning, and urban design. She is the Program Director for Urban & Regional Planning and Co-Chair of the Center for Excellence in Real Estate.

Her primary research interests include contemporary issues of urban development with an emphasis on sustainability, social equity, and communication technology. Her recent work combines ethnographic fieldwork and spatial data analysis to evaluate the ways in which urban activities emerge from the bottom-up, challenge past planning methods, and ultimately construct new forms of urban space and urban policy. She has co-authored the book Social Media and the Contemporary City (2021) and is currently working on the book Mobilizing Food Vending in the American City (2022). Dr. Wessel’s research has been published in the MIT Press, Journal of American Planning Association, New Media & Society, Journal of Urban Design, and Participatory Urbanisms. Invited speaking engagements on her work include UNC Charlotte’s Design Theory Lecture Series & 50th Anniversary Alumni Lecture Series, GrowSmart’s TOD Infrastructure Week, UCLA’s Digital Cities: Smarter Transportation Forum, and Adobe’s Sustainability and Technology Forum.

In the classroom, Dr. Wessel encourages students to actively apply their knowledge to real-world problems and settings in the community. Her teaching philosophy fosters an understanding of the social inequities in today’s built environment and the pressing concerns of climate change through collaborative problem solving and hands-on experiences. She has taught architecture and urban planning courses at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, San José State University, and was academic lead of UC Berkeley’s Summer Institute in Urban Planning.

Select Publications

Sauda, Eric, Ginette Wessel, and Alireza Karduni. 2021. Social Media and the Contemporary City, New York: Routledge.

Wessel, Ginette. Expected 2022. Mobilizing Food Vending: Rights, Communication Technology, and Urban Space in the American City, New York: Routledge.

Wessel, Ginette. 2017. “Relaxing Regulatory Controls: Vending Advocacy and Rights in Mobile Food Vending.” In From Loncheras to Lobster Love: Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice, edited by Julian Agyeman. Cambridge: MIT Press:

Wessel, Ginette, and Sofia Airghi. 2015. “Negotiating Informality: Operational Strategies of Latino Vendors in San Francisco’s Mission District.” Participatory Urbanisms, Global Urban Humanities Initiative, UC Berkeley:

Wessel, Ginette, Caroline Ziemkiewicz, and Eric Sauda. 2016. “Re-evaluating Urban Space through Tweets: An Analysis of Twitter-based Mobile Food Vendors and Online Communication.” New Media & Society 18 (8): 1636-1656.

Wessel, Ginette. 2012. “From Place to NonPlace: A Case Study of Social Media and Contemporary Food Trucks.” Journal of Urban Design 17 (4): 511-531.