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 rural Arkansas and Oklahoma, and a professional secretary, the descendant 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 Thornberry’s before enrolling at the University of Michigan to pursue a master’s degree in environmental policy and behavior at the School of Environment and Sustainability.
I returned to Los Angeles and held positions with non-profit, university, and policy organizations 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 determinants of health, spatial planning and urban design, and visual aspects of the built environment.
I live in Norman, Oklahoma but spend time in Los Angeles, CA where my spouse lives and works. When I’m not reading and writing about urban planning, I love to cook and eat good food, drink good wine, walk the amazing OU Campus or our beautiful neighborhood in SoCal, and hang out with my cats, Cheeto and Black Bean, and my dog, Duke.