Director of the Sustainability & Development Program in the Lyle school of Engineering, and the Initiative for Spatial Literacy (GIS@SMU), Zarazaga focuses on the development of educational structures which integrate community research into project based learning. Her teaching brings together GIS mapping and global sustainable urban principles to support a range of projects in support of social and environmental equity in engineering. Central to this process is the integration of geo-spatial design thinking and creativity within project-based engineering education, an issue she explored in her doctoral research.
A landscape-urbanist and architect working across the fields of GIS, landscape, urbanism and theatre, Jessie Marshall Zarazaga has both worked and taught in Hong Kong, Tanzania, Finland, Chile and the UK, as well as in the US, focusing on the operation of the infrastructures of landscape, and their impact on urban space. Investigating the social and physical structures of city neighborhoods, her research integrates processes of landscape mapping and public engagement, to analyse overlapping environmental, social, economic and cultural spatial impacts, connecting culture and community to place. Zarazaga undertook a Fulbright in Valparaiso, Chile, where her research at the Ciudad Abierta in Ritoque, investigated how temporal events, from shared dining to wind and water flows, impact the design of a physical territory. Zarazaga’s ongoing projects in Tanzania and Kenya as well as Texas, seek to exploit the creative possibilities of landscape and infrastructure, focusing on designing beautiful, equitable urban environments, buildings and public space, through creative participatory mapping and collaborative design processes.