Christopher A. Watson


Christopher A‭. ‬Watson‭, ‬M.Sc‭., ‬Ph.D‭.[‬c‭] ‬serves as the Director of Planning and Development Services at Murphy Schiller‭ ‬&‭ ‬Wilkes LLP‭ (‬MSW‭). ‬In this role‭, ‬he leads a team of professionals in actualizing development projects‭, ‬from conception to certificate of‭ ‬occupancy‭, ‬in municipalities throughout New Jersey‭, ‬with a particular focus on projects located in the City of Newark‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬New Jersey’s largest municipality‭. ‬Prior to joining MSW‭, ‬Chris served as City Planning Officer‭ (‬Director of City Planning‭) ‬for the City of‭ ‬Newark‭, ‬New Jersey‭. ‬In that capacity he was able to advance key policy initiatives for the administration of Mayor Ras J‭. ‬Baraka‭, ‬including the adoption of the City’s latest ten-year master plan‭, ‬Newark360‭, ‬the winner of New Jersey’s American Planning Association 2022‭ ‬Planning Excellence award for Plan of the Year‭. ‬Chris is a national subject matter expert in planning and development and uses this acumen to advocate for his clients’‭ ‬interests through all stages of the development process‭. ‬

Chris has lived and worked in the City of Newark for nearly two decades‭. ‬Born in Guyana‭, ‬South America‭, ‬he received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Guyana‭. ‬He gained his master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Planning‭, ‬with honors‭, ‬from Hunter College‭, ‬CUNY‭, ‬and is currently a Ph.D‭. ‬Candidate in the joint‭ ‬Urban Systems program at the Hiller College of Architecture and Design‭, ‬New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University’s Graduate Center‭. ‬His research interests coalesce around some of the most enduring themes of urban scholarship‭: ‬the intersections of poverty‭, ‬race‭, ‬and class‭; ‬community economic advancement and the physical and socio-political impacts and consequences of‭ ‬gentrification in American cities‭. ‬

He is the 2018‭ ‬recipient of the President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching from Queens College‭, ‬CUNY where he was an adjunct professor in the Urban Studies department‭,‬‭ ‬teaching courses on Urban Poverty and Affluence‭, ‬Graduate Research Methods‭, ‬Researching New York City‭, ‬and Urban Planning and City Government‭. ‬Chris served as Vice President of the board of directors for United Vailsburg Service Organization‭. ‬Chris is the‭ ‬2021‭ ‬American Planning Association‭, ‬New Jersey Chapter’s recipient of the prestigious Stuart Merk Distinguished Service Award‭, ‬for forwarding planning in the City of Newark that is inclusive of the community’s voice‭. ‬

Chris is an avid supporter of the arts‭, ‬an urban gardener‭, ‬and hiker of the many trails of New Jersey‭.‬