I was raised in a small rural community, the son of a sand miner, whose family was drawn to the the auto industry of the Great Lakes as a way to escape picking cotton in the south, and a professional secretary, the descendent of English and Dutch farmers who settled around Holland, Michigan.
I am a gay, first generation college student who moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school to attend the University of Southern California where I earned degrees in economics and environmental studies. I then worked for several years as an ecological researcher on the children’s television program The Wild Thornberrys before enrolling at the University of Michigan to pursue a master’s degree in environmental policy and behavior at the School of Natural Resources and Behavior.
I returned to Los Angeles and held positions with the UCLA School of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors where I worked directly with local community groups seeking to strengthen their advocacy efforts through the use of community-based research. After several years in this capacity, I returned to school to study environmental design at California State Polytechnic University, graduating with a master’s degree in landscape architecture. I completed my PhD in spatial planning at the University of Southern California. Today I work for the University of Oklahoma and specialize in physical planning particularly as it relates to public health, visual aspects of the built environment, and community involvement in land use and public health policy.
I live in Norman, Oklahoma but spend much of my time in Los Angeles, CA where my better half works and lives. When I’m not reading about cities, photographing the physical environment, or writing about urban planning, I spend my time eating good food, drinking good wine, walking the amazing OU Campus, and hanging out with my incredible cats, Cheeto and Black Bean.