I am a geographer. I study how people live in cities, the making of shared meanings of our surroundings, and the contemporary culture and politics of urban environments.
My research specialties include theories of nature-society relations; environmental justice; critical design studies; as well as the conceptual and material intersections of architecture, environment, and geography.
Former professional and scholarly lives include: architect, biologist, anthropologist.
I love words and putting them together. I read a lot of poems, write a few. I draw and paint. I make photographs. I jot a lot of notes about what I hear, remember, see, and feel. Stones, feathers, fossils, notebooks.
For select professional research projects, teaching experience, and publications, see below.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Professor in Residence (Visiting Assistant Professor) in Political Ecology & Design.
History, Philosophy & the Social Sciences Dept. Rhode Island School of Design. August 2017 - June 2019.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Urban Studies Foundation
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow. January 2016 - August 2017.
Scholar in Residence. Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota. Fall 2015.
PhD, Geography. University of Minnesota, 2015
Dissertation: Cultivating Everyday Life: Yards, Nature &Time in the City
Advisors: Vinay Gidwani & Helga Leitner (UCLA)
Committee: John Archer, Katherine Solomonson, Roderick Squires
Master of Architecture. University of California - Berkeley, 2005
Design thesis: FoodSpace: Forms for Food in the City
Bachelor of Arts. Swarthmore College, 2000
Biology and Sociology & Anthropology (double major)
Anthropology thesis: "When The Water Came Up": Landscape Change, Shelter and Indigenous Knowledge on the Great Plains
Project Architect, Arkin Tilt Architects – Berkeley, CA (2005 – 2007)
For two years I designed and managed a variety of public and residential projects at a small and well known firm specializing in sustainable design: site and climate analysis, schematic design through construction documents, budgeting, detailing, drafting, materials selection; specializing in energy efficiency, alternative building materials and construction, photovoltaic, geothermal and alternative energy systems.
Lang U Living with Yards: Nature & Habits of Home. McGill Queens University Press.
Strunk C & U Lang. “Gardening as more-than-urban-agriculture: Perspectives from smaller cities on urban gardening policies and practices.” Case Studies in the Environnment. Forthcoming.
Lang U “Keep off the grass! New Directions for Geographies of Yards and Private Gardens.” Geography Compass. https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12397 (2018)
Lang U "Connective Tissues: Everyday engagements with yards." GeoHumanities. (2018)
Lang U “Inhabiting Yards, Inhabiting Suburbs”, in J. Archer, P. Sandul and K. Solomonson (eds), Making Suburbia: New Histories of Everyday America, University of Minnesota Press. (2015) [link to book webpage]
Lang U “The Common Life of Yards” Urban Geography. (2014) 35(6): 852-869.
Lang U “Cultivating the Sustainable City: Urban Agriculture Policies and Gardening Projects in Minneapolis, MN,” Urban Geography. (2014) 35(4): 477-485.
Arnold J and Lang U. “Changing American home life: trends in domestic leisure and storage among middle-class families,” Journal of Family and Economic Issues. (2007) 28(1): 23-48.
Lang U “FoodSpace: forms for food production in the city,” Urban Agriculture Magazine, Resource Centers on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF). Netherlands. (2005) Dec., 37-38.
Lang, U. Antipode (2014) Review of: Harris, D. Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (2013) LINK
Lang, U. Journal of Planning Literature (2013) Review of: Young, R. Stewardship of the Built Environment: Sustainability, Preservation and Reuse, (2012) Washington, DC: Island Press.
I am a social and cultural geographer who studies environmental planning, design and management.
My teaching and research directly animate one another. My scholarship is motivated by a desire to understand relations of power and social inequalities hidden within ordinary landscapes. Social differences such as race, gender and class can be reinforced and disrupted by environmental planning. I am most interested in how this takes shape in the interplay between built environments and the creative possibilities of people’s practices and experiences. To better understand this, I bring social science perspectives in closer conversation with design and the environmental humanities through diverse methods including ethnography, participatory mapping, and visual representation.
I love to teach. At the heart of my pedagogy is my commitment to more just, equitable, inclusive and caring environments. I try to help students think geographically about their worlds.
Courses taught & prepared:
Work, Technology & Value: Geographic Perspectives on Design
Life in Common
Infrastructure & Society
Climate Futures: Experiencing our Changing Climate
Geographies of Social Difference & Justice
Theories of Nature & Society
Cities in Film
Resilience: Critical Perspectives for Urban Futures
Race, Nature & Space
Qualitative Methods & Ethnography
Land, Property & Nature
Knowing Places: Map, Image, Text, Story
The American Yard
Ruins & Rust: The Natures of Deindustrialization