I divide my time teaching at Akita International University in Japan and conducting research in Denver, Colorado. The physical and social context of my research is public space. I am interested in how public spaces are planned and designed, how they are regulated and policed, and how they impact manifold trajectories of health and well-being within marginalized communities. Trained as city planner and urban geographer, I conduct ethnographic research in urban settings, mixed methods research in city halls, and historical research in public and private archives.
CURRENT RESEARCH | My primary research focus is homelessness in Denver, a city that recently banned sleeping in public space. Along with exposing many layers of social injustice, this project continues reveal consequences of the ban that are deleterious public health. I also study how the City of Denver articulates public spaces in order to accelerate the gentrification of North Denver neighborhoods. I report the results of the initial stage of this research in my recently published book Rights to Public Space: Law, Culture, and the Gentrification of the American West.
TEACHING | My years living and working in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia help me to infuse my syllabi with pragmatic and cross-cultural perspectives. For example, in my geography of North America course, I explore the layered cultural geographies of musical idioms like jazz and the blues and of musical instruments like accordion and the banjo, in order to pique my student’s interest and ultimately to help them learn to think critically about the socio-spatial outcomes of cultural and economic practices.
BACKGROUND | After a year abroad in Bermuda and 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.