My time is currently divided between teaching at Akita International University in Japan and conducting research in the urban areas of Colorado and the American West. My research concerns public spaces and focuses on environmental justice, anarchistic urbanism, gentrification, and urban governmentality. Not only do I draw theoretical insight from thinkers like Karl Marx, Petr Kropotkin, and Michel Foucault, I am also inspired by scholars such as Marianne Valverde, Nicholas Blomley, and Setha Low. Trained as city planner and urban geographer, I conduct ethnographic research in the everyday field of urban practice as well as mixed methods research in city hall, at town hall meetings, and in public and private archives.
CURRENT PROJECTS | My primary research focuses on homelessness in Denver, a city that recently outlawed urban camping. Along with exposing many layers of social injustice, this ongoing project reveals micro-politics of power and exploitation as well as infra-politics of subversion and moral economies of property. I am also continuing my doctoral work in gentrification and the changing patterns of class and ethnicity as they manifest in private and public urban spaces. Specifically, I have identified what I call the “rights-rift,” the rift between property rights protected by city authorities and what society accepts as human rights. I fully develop this theory in Rights to Public Space: Law, Culture, and the Gentrification of the American West, my book recently published by Palgrave Macmillan.
BACKGROUND | After thirteen years as a business owner in Colorado, I moved to Europe where I studied sociology at the University of Vienna. While completing my graduate studies in urban planning and design at the University of Colorado, I worked as a research assistant, studio associate, and teaching assistant. Prior to my current appointment, I was employed by the University of Colorado Denver as a geography instructor at its campus in China: International College Beijing.
TEACHING | Each semester I create entirely new coursework based on current events. My years living and working in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean infuse pragmatic and cross-cultural perspectives into my classrooms. For example I have held classes that explore surprising geographies like jazz, salt, and peanuts to pique interest and help students think critically about spatial outcomes of commonsense business practices.