Cape Town, South Africa



I am a Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning and Associate Dean of Research in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. I'm also a past leader of the African Urbanism Humanities Lab at UVA, a research collaborative with members from across the humanities and social sciences focused on the urban transition of the African continent.

Urban planners are community-engaged design and policy professionals.  While for many of us our central focus is "the city", planners work in a wide variety of positions for a diverse array of organizations. Social equity and environmental sustainability are central to the field, as are healthy local economies.  If you are thinking about urban planning as a career, two great places to find out more are the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the American Planning Association.  Or call me and I'll bend your ear with the possibilities!

My main area of expertise and professional practice is in international development, with a particular focus on land tenure/property rights and access to land and housing in rapidly growing cities of the Global South. My engagement with African cities is a direct outgrowth of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in the 1990s (see:  Life changing. An additional research focus is climate change and its impacts on cities.  

Increasingly, I am involved in the area of leadership, due to my former roles in the University of Virginia Faculty Senate, but also through ongoing involvement through the Presidential Precinct (see: in a State Department-sponsored leadership training program for young African leaders known as the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program. For more information on that see:

Welcome to my website.  I can be contacted by email at: