I am an urban geographer and university administrator. I currently serve as Senior Fellow for International Advancement, reporting directly to the President of Virginia Tech. Between 1997 and 2006 I served as Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and in 2009 I served for a year as Director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. As a member of the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning I have taught courses on urban and regional development theory and comparative urbanization. I currently teach Honors courses on European Urbanization and Urbanism, and on Cities and Design.

My research and writing is focused on urban form, and in particular the social construction of the built environment. I am particularly interested in the ways in which the sense of place of small towns and of big-city districts is embodied in the built environment; and in the ways in which social histories are reflected in the architecture of city districts.