Dr. Traci Rose Rider is the Coordinator for the Design Initiative for Sustainability and Health, Research Associate, Research Assistant Professor of Architecture, and PhD Faculty at North Carolina State University’s College of Design. Dr. Rider’s research has focused on the relationship between the design culture and the notion of sustainability, exploring factors impacting environmental attitudes of designers including environmental education, learned associations, and informal influences. She was given the New Researcher Award for the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) for 2015-2016. This award is intended to acknowledge and reward emerging figures in architectural and environmental design research that demonstrate innovation in thinking, dedication in scholarship, contributions to the academy, and leadership within architectural and environmental design research.

Dr. Rider teaches courses focusing on sustainability and beyond for the School of Architecture, addressing topics such as the issues of existing buildings and operations, and the WELL Building Standard and Living Building Challenge. Her funded research projects include methods for introducing building science and health topics to middle school students in North Carolina through STEM exercises, as well as supporting the development of interdisciplinary focus areas for the NC State in the areas of Sustainable Cities. In her Extension role, Dr. Rider works with North Carolina communities that have a community development need, using participatory action research and student involvement to help facilitate the development of concept designs to help strengthen North Carolina’s communities in terms of economy, human health, and the environment.

Dr. Rider’s professional experience over the past fifteen years has included work in international design firms, green building non-profits, university extension, and sustainability consulting. She is an active member of the USGBC, the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) and ARCC. Dr. Rider has presented and been published in the proceedings of conferences such as Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) and the National Outreach Scholarship Conference (NOSC). She has also been featured in Dwell magazine, was granted the prestigious individual U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership Award in Education for 2005, and was included in a group labeled as “The Re-Inventors” in Vanity Fair’s Green Issue in May 2006, in the company of established visionaries such as William McDonough, Paul Hawken and Sim van der Ryn. She has authored two books with W.W. Norton, and has a chapter in an upcoming book on interdisciplinary work, Collaboration and Student Engagement in Design Education (IGI Global, 2016). She frequently presents at both academic and professional conferences on various aspects of green, sustainability, integrated design and community engagement.

Rider received her professional Bachelors of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Master’s Degree in Human-Environment Relations with a focus on Environmental Sociology from Cornell University. Her doctorate degree was granted from the College of Design at North Carolina State University focusing on the integration of sustainability within formal design education.


Dr. Rider’s research interest involves design culture and the influence of sustainability; human – environment relations, including allowances and affordances; inclusionary and universal design; designed spaces for environmental education; and design for special populations including children and the elderly. Her research also focuses on community design, downtown revitalization, the role of design and its impact on the quality of life and the natural environment, and designed environments for all populations.

Information on Dr. Rider’s Spring 2016 ARC 590 Class: Toward Sustainability: Well & Living Buildings