Joseph M. Schilling

Professorial Lecturer in Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Joseph Schilling leads the Metropolitan Institute’s new Sustainable Communities Initiative that investigates innovative ways of creating eco-sustainable communities through better design, planning, and collaboration. His research facilitates the transfer of innovative policies and programs through case studies, peer exchanges, and policy charrettes covering diverse topics as smart growth, active living, vacant property reclamation, sustainability, and zoning code reform. 

As a founding member of the National Vacant Properties Campaign Professor Schilling led the Campaign’s 2009 assessment study, Regenerating Youngstown and Mahoning County, and is currently working with local leaders in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Detroit. In the 2008 autumn edition of the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA), Schilling set forth a new planning model for reconfiguring shrinking cities (Greening the Rust Belt). Based on his field work he devised a holistic approach for federal and state urban policy called the Living Laboratory of Revitalization that served as the inspiration for pending legislation in Congress—HR 952 the Community Sustainability and Regeneration Act. 

In 2007 Schilling completed two RWJF Active Living Research (ALR) policy case studies on state and local land use planning strategies that seeks to promote the development of more compact neighborhoods—the infrastructure that promotes more physically active and healthy communities. Schilling evaluated the policy process and consensus building approaches behind the design and enactment of Wisconsin’s 1999 Comprehensive Planning and Smart Growth Law. This first case study was published in May 2008 as part of a special ALR edition of the Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law. 

Schilling is an Assistant Research Professor at Virginia Tech's Alexandria Center. Prior to that position, he directed the Community and Economic Development programs for the International City County Management Associations (ICMA) and was a Senior Fellow at the National Environmental Policy Institute in WDC. Schilling practiced municipal law for 12 years for the City of San Diego (his hometown) where he directed the land use enforcement unit. He holds a Masters of Environmental Law from GW and a JD from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.


BA, San Diego State University; JD, University of California, San Francisco; LLM, George Washington University