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Gary Gaston

Assistant Professor of Practice, Chief Executive Officer of Civic Design Center

School of Architecture

Gary Gaston is the CEO of the Civic Design Center in Nashville, which works to envision and improve the built environment and promote public participation in the design process. Gaston also serves as an Assistant Professor of Practice at UTK College of Architecture + Design. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from UT Knoxville, and has a M.Ed. in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University.

Gaston helped lead numerous planning and design efforts for the Design Center, including its visionary The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City, published in 2005. Gaston served as executive producer of the National Endowment for the Arts funded documentary film Design Your Neighborhood, and co-authored two books, Moving Tennessee Forward: Models for Connecting Communities (2012), and Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan, which was published by Vanderbilt University Press in April 2016.

Gaston is a TEDx Nashville Fellow, his talk on “Improving Public Health Through Community Design” can be viewed here. Gary received the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society Silver Medal “for extraordinary efforts to advance the field of design in the region” in 2016 and was recognized as a “Next American Vanguard” by Next City Magazine in 2010.

Contact Information


  • M.Ed., Community Development & Action, Vanderbilt University, 2017
  • Bachelor of Architecture, Architecture & Urban Design, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1999