Professor of Geography, Architecture, and American Studies
Department of American Studies, Department of Architecture, Department of Geography
510 642-3903

Research Expertise and Interest

architecture, vernacular architecture, urban geography, suburban America, cultural landscape studies, housing (US)


My overarching interest is in cultural landscape studies—that is, the history, form, and meaning of ordinary built environments, particularly in the United States. I study the ways in which social groups have used space (as buildings, rooms, street grids, fields, or yards) to articulate social relations and to derive cultural meaning.

I have focused my work on:

  1. Vernacular urban architecture such as machine shops, neighborhoods of workers' cottages, and suburban tract houses.
  2. Landscapes of socially and politically disenfranchised people, places such as single-room housing for single adults, migrant workers, and the elderly.
  3. Ways in which social theory (particularly practice theory and the work of Peirre Bourdieu) can be quietly used to illuminate cultural landscape questions.
  4. The application of built-environment history to design and public policy.

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