Anne Taufen Wessells, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Specialty: Planning and Policy

Wessells, Anne Taufen

Contact information

Dept: Urban Studies
Room: PNK 310
Phone: 253-692-4319


  • Ph.D., Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 2007.
  • M.G.A., Government Administration, University of Pennsylvania, 2000.
  • B.A., English and French Literature, University of Virginia, 1995.


Anne Taufen Wessells joined the Urban Studies faculty in Fall 2008. She received her PhD in Social Ecology in 2007 from the University of California, Irvine, through the Department of Planning, Policy and Design. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked in urban planning and economic development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; during this time, she earned a masters degree from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania (2000).

Her theoretical interests are in modes of urban governance, including collaborative spatial planning; the figurative and literal construction of human-nature systems; and performativity concepts of social practice theory, especially as they relate to urban policy and political power.

Professor Wessells' dissertation research focused on the creation of new waterfront park spaces in four U.S. cities, investigating how multiple land use imperatives were selectively promoted, integrated and/or abandoned in the redevelopment of urban waterway sites. Drawing on Actor-Network Theory (as articulated by Bruno Latour in particular), this work emphasizes the importance of both narrative and visual representation in developing alternative political agency, in order to engage and transform status quo 'structures' of urban economic development practice.

Professor Wessells is currently pursuing new research in the area of urban recreation, place attachment, and social-ecological equity. Her teaching at UWT is focused on land use planning, urban sustainability, and public policy, with a thematic emphasis on political voice and citizen empowerment.