College of Design Dean

Meet the Dean!

Dean Adrian Parr

Adrian Parr, PhD, is an internationally recognized environmental, political, and cultural thinker and practitioner and is a transdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of architecture criticism, aesthetics, political theory, and environmental studies. She is the Dean of the College of Design at the University of Oregon, a Senior Fellow of DesignIntelligence, and is currently serving as the UNESCO Chair on Water and Human Settlements. Prior to joining the University of Oregon, she served as the Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, and as the Director of the Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati.

Parr is the founding signatory of the Geneva Actions on Human Water Security.

Parr has produced two award-winning documentaries, Thirsty and Drowning in America and The Intimate Realities of Water, directed in collaboration with Sean Hughes. Her video works, A Tale of Three Rocks and Watershed Urbanism have both received multiple honors at art film festivals in the US and Europe. She is the curator of the Transpecies Design and Watershed Urbanism exhibits both held at the European Cultural Center during the 2021 and 2023 Venice Architecture Biennales.

Parr is a writer, public speaker, and filmmaker. She has published numerous books and articles and has been interviewed for her views on social and environmental justice by The New York Times, public radio, and television. She has published op-eds in The LA Review of Books, The World Financial Review, and The European Magazine.

The driving force behind all her work is the question of how to overcome ecological and economic scarcity. She asserts that environmental devastation and climate change are crimes against humanity.

Parr works at the intersection of cultural practices, water access, sustainable development, and the built environment, advocating for what she calls ‘bastard solidarities’ between reform-based politics and confrontational political strategies.

As governments, policymakers, and the courts worldwide struggle to redress environmental degradation and the harms experienced by vulnerable communities, Parr looks to themes of equity, friendship, and generosity as starting points for change.

She argues in favor of creating social models premised upon open-minded, ecologically conscious, non-violent, and participatory ways of living. She maintains an inclusive emancipatory political imagination will help get us there.


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