Culture and heritage, and how they affect our perceptions of land and nature are central to my research. Currently my research focuses on the use of land, particularly in the realm of urban agriculture and food systems, heritage landscape documentation and analysis, and sustainable development practices. Since different cultures have very different ways of shaping their communities and understanding nature, I work cross-culturally with communities in the United States and in locations around the world including: Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belize, and the Bahamas. Understanding other cultures illuminates our own, and understanding indigenous and traditional lifeways can often lead to the reemergence of sustainable practices.
Before joining the University of Massachusetts as a Professor and Department Head, I served as Professor and Department Head in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University and as an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment. With a Master in Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland, I founded and managed the landscape planning firm, Land Ethics, Inc. until 2002.