Research

See my CV for specific citations of publications.

The key theme of my historical research is examining the politics of the built environment, especially in cities. My main line of inquiry has been to study the relationship between cities and universities in the United States. I use the built environment as a lens for examining real estate markets, urban politics, and the forces shaping design. In addition, I explore digital means of conducting and communicating this research.

Currently I am at work on a book project entitled Building the Ivory Tower, about the growth of universities in American cities throughout the 20th century, their increasing importance in the American economy and American policy, and their role in shaping their surrounding cities. I do this using case studies from Muncie, Indiana, in the 1920s–the subject of the Middletown studies–to metropolitan Boston in the 1980s, one of the centers of the new economy. This is an extensive expansion and revision of my PhD dissertation from the University of Michigan.

In addition, I am also researching the modern historic preservation movement — reframing its origins and interpreting preservation (and preservationists) as forces in urban politics, rather than simply heritage advocates, as they are often portrayed. For some sources and discussion expanding on my publications and projects, go here.

My work also involves thinking about and teaching new ways for students and historians to present their work–both public historians and academics. To that end, I have a public history portfolio that expands on my professional work and a portfolio of academic digital work in development, including a project in Historical Geographic Information Systems.

Further back, I have a number of publications and presentations I make available under a Creative Commons license, unless otherwise noted.

Masters thesis: Student Housing, City Politics, and the University of Michigan, 1920-1980.