Peter Robinson (he/him) is the founder of WorkUrban, a design consultancy with the principal mission to promote effective urbanism around the world through community engagement and participatory design. WorkUrban partners with communities, institutions, and individuals while engaging students on a pathway toward leadership and empowerment. WorkUrban's recent collaborations include Brownsville Heritage House, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, Universe City, and My Brother's Keeper Alliance.
As a founding board member of BlackSpace Urbanist Collective — a nonprofit organization that demands a present and future where Black people, Black spaces, and Black culture matter and thrive — Robinson utilizes his strong belief in the power of collaboration to advance student advocacy and create community change. BlackSpace was recognized as one of "The 10 Most Innovative Architecture Companies of 2021" by Fast Company.
A sought-after leader in the field of architecture, urban design, and design consultancy, Robinson has recently been elected Vice Chair to the Board of Trustees at AIA New York | Center for Architecture, where he presented at the organization's inaugural Presidential Lecture Series. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for BRACE: Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange. Previously, he served as Treasurer for the New York Coalition of Black Architects and has worked with the organization in the areas of student and professional advocacy.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Robinson was raised in both Kingston and New York City, where he graduated from the High School of Art and Design. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University. He has worked at a number of noted architectural practices in the areas of design, management, and design strategy, greatly contributing to the successful futures of leading corporate, cultural, religious, and academic institutions.
Robinson previously taught architecture design and urban theory at Barnard College at Columbia University, Syracuse University, and Parsons School of Design, and was a Visiting Critic at Cornell University's Gensler Family AAP NYC Center. He has been a guest critic at Cornell, Columbia, Rhode Island School of Design, China Academy of Art, and Harvard.
Prior to accepting the position of Assistant Professor at AAP, he was the fall 2021 Mellon Scholar.
Robinson's research focuses on cultural subjectivity and the city, broaching parallels and interferences among architecture, urban design, planning, and cultural practices/theories as a means to engage/inform social action.
Throughout his career, Robinson has worked to leverage institutional relationships to provide sustainable, locally directed, infrastructures of support to underserved communities. In the fall of 2021, he collaborated with Universe City NYC (UC), an ecological public health laboratory in East New York, Brooklyn, to deliver the design studio Housing + Communion: "For Health and Strength…". UC's mission to create neighborhood food sovereignty is deeply embedded in local cultural practices. During this studio, students worked alongside UC staff and East New York community members to design spatialities that centered living the mission and values of Universe City. This collaboration served as a source of regard that contributed to UC being awarded a Mellon Foundation, Humanities in Place grant the following year which Robinson helped to secure. This two-year grant will provide the recourses and undergirding for UC to host similar collaborations, implement programming, and creates the spaces for their radical social/cultural mission.
"Peter Robinson has been a tremendous blessing to the Universe City NYC family and community," said UC Executive Director Franklyn Mena. "With an insightful, innovative, and practical approach, Peter has used his expertise and knowledge to assist in supporting our organizational development and expansion. We are looking forward to the upcoming fall session of Robinson Studio, including a special mid-review installation at Cornell Tech."