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; urban environmentalisms; cultural landscapes; as well as the conceptual and material intersections of architecture, environment, and geography.

Sites in the world through which I explore these ideas include: front and back yards in North America, urban gardens and farms, shelter magazines, dammed waters on the Great Plains, biological field stations, home, city policies, bodies and atmospheres, storm drains, architectural renderings, property, commons and commoning, everyday practices. 

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. Sometimes I draw. I make photographs. I jot a lot of notes about what I hear, remember, see, and feel. Stones, feathers, fossils, notebooks. 

For select professional projects, publications and details, see below. 

Contact me: ulang@risd.edu or ursula.a.lang@gmail.com

Equinox colors. Knife River, Lake Superior, September 2014.


Assistant Professor in Residence in Political Ecology & Design.
History, Philosophy & the Social Sciences Dept. Rhode Island School of Design. August 2017 - present

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 ArcherKatherine SolomonsonRoderick 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 Nationalism on a Great Plains Native American Reservation



Project ArchitectArkin 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. 
In progress. 



Lang, U. "Connective Tissues: Everyday engagements with yards." GeoHumanities (Practices & Curations). Forthcoming. 

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 U. Lang. “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.



"Commons, Commoning and Co-becomings" (with Neera Singh, Gustavo Garcia Lopez). Five sessions at AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 2018.

"Cities in Three Dimensions: Vertical Urban Geographies." (with C. Chang), AAG Annual Meeting, Boston, April 2017. 

“Cultivating Bodies: Learning, Feeling, Doing” (with R. Sandover), AAG Annual Meeting, Tampa, April 2014.

“Everyday Urbanism: Seeing and Making the City” (with Prof Margaret Crawford), Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), Annual Meeting, Toronto, Oct 2013.

“Imagining and Enacting the City through Sustainability” (with J. Shannon), Applied Geography Conference, Minneapolis, Oct 2012.

“Affective Attachments of Environmentalism.” (with K. Pratt), AAG  Annual Meeting, New York, Feb 2012.



"Residential Landscapes as Urban Green Infrastructure: Greening the Already Green?" (paper), Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, London, September 2016. 

"Becoming Attuned to Weather" (paper), Royal Anthropological Institute Conference, London, May 2016.

“Yards as Urban Analytic: Beyond gardens and lawns” (paper), Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April 2015.

“Environmental Consciousness In and Through Everyday Embodied Affects” (paper and workshop), Rethinking Environmental Consciousness Research Symposium, Mid Sweden University, Dec 2014.

“Inhabiting Cultivated Yard Spaces” (paper), Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL, April 2014.

“Cultivating Everyday Environments” (paper), Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), Annual Meeting, Toronto, Oct 2013.

“Inhabiting Yards” (paper), International Interdisciplinary Emotional Geographies Conference, Groningen, Netherlands, July 2013.

“From Space to Place: Place-Making” (panelist), Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota, May 2013.

“Everyday Yard Rhythms” (paper), Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, April 2013.

“Expanding the Empirical and Theoretical Scope in Community Gardening and Urban Agriculture Research” (panelist), AAG Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, April 2013.

“Urban Gardening Projects: Rain Gardens and Urban Agriculture in a Sustainable Minneapolis” (paper), Applied Geography Conference, Minneapolis, Oct 2012.

“The Common Life of Yards” (paper), Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, New York, Feb 2012.



Courses prepared and interested to teach:

  • Geographies of Design
  • Infrastructure & Society
  • Commons & Commoning: Spaces of Possibility 
  • Imagining Urban Natures
  • Cities & Social Difference
  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Theories of Nature & Society
  • Urban Geography
  • Global Urbanisms
  • Introduction to Urban Studies
  • Qualitative Methods & Ethnography
  • Land, Property & Nature
  • American Cultural Landscapes
  • The American Yard
  • New Suburban Histories

Geography courses taught – University of Minnesota

  • Introduction to Human Geography: Our Globalizing World
  • Geography of the World Economy
  • The City in Film
  • Changing Form of the City
  • Urban Geography: Cities, Citizens, and Communities
  • Global Cities
  • Population in an Interacting World

American Studies / Interdisciplinary courses taught – University of California, Berkeley

  • Introduction to American Studies: Food in America (GSI)
  • Environmental Studies: The American Forest: Ecology, History and Representation (GSI)
  • The History of American Popular Culture 1800 – 1939 (GSI)