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Donald Watson

Donald Watson is a leading expert and consultant in planning, architecture, and environmental design.

He has served in academic and professional positions for the last 40 years. He is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructor in FEMA certified courses Resilient Design of Buildings and Communities.

As an architect and planner, Mr. Watson has worked on leading projects and sustainable sites around the world. His projects have won design awards from the Earth Day Top 10 in 1997 to U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Award. Mr. Watson received the 2008 U.S. Green Building Council Leadership Award and the American Institute of Architect’s Presidential Citation. Both awards recognize contributions of Mr. Watson and other members of the inaugural AIA Committee on Environment, as “founders of green design in the United States.” Among other national honors, he received the 2014 American Solar Energy Society “Solar Pioneer Award” for lifetime achievement and the 2015 Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Award for Professional Leadership.

As a community workshop facilitator, Mr. Watson has worked with many diverse ethnic and cultural groups in the United States and abroad. He has pioneered many of the approaches used to promote consensus and develop community-based designs, including the Environmental Design Charrette Workshop process, now widely used by many in the architectural and development field. He was lead consultant for the Vita Nuova community outreach assignment for Went Field Park, Bridgeport CT, cited by EPA as one of the largest community based projects in the U.S., and recipient of a 2001 EPA Region 1 project award.

As an academic, Mr. Watson was formerly Rockefeller Foundation Research Fellow in Environmental Affairs (1969-70), professor at Yale University School of Architecture where he served as Chair of Yale’s Environmental Design Program (1970-1990), Professor and Dean at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1990-2000), and visiting professor at the University of Oregon. He has published many books in the architecture and planning fields. His most recent book, co-authored with Michele Adams, P.E., published by John Wiley, is Design for Flooding: Resilience to Climate Change.