Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

Culture and heritage, and how they affect our perceptions of land and nature are central to my research. Currently my research focuses on the role of heritage in identifying our place in the world, a critically important understanding given the tremendous forces of migration and displacement that are facing us due to armed conflict and the slower onset of climate change.  I study the role of land, our connection to it and how we organize our communities within it, particularly in the realm of urban agriculture and food systems.  Cultural landscapes and the heritage embodied within them, landscapes produced by the interaction between humans and nature, are key to sustainable development practices.   Since different cultures have very different ways of shaping their communities and understanding nature, I work cross-culturally with communities in the United States and in locations around the world including resent projects in Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belize, and the Bahamas. Understanding other cultures illuminates our own, and understanding indigenous and traditional lifeways can often lead to the reemergence of sustainable practices.

Before joining the University of Massachusetts as a Professor and Department Head, I served as Professor and Department Head in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University and as an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment. With a Master in Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland, I founded and managed the landscape planning firm, Land Ethics, Inc. for 15 years until I turned to academia.

For access to my research publications, please go to


The Center’s Steering Committee

The Center is guided by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty, who’s work intersects with the role of heritage in contemporary society in a wide variety of disciplines.

Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center
James Boyce, Professor, Economics, Director of the Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment, Political Economy Research Institute
Kathleen Brown-Perez, Commonwealth Honors College, Co-Chair of the Five College Native American Indian Studies Committee
David Glassberg, Professor, Public History Program, History
David Mednicoff, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Administration, Director of Middle Eastern Studies
Catherine Portugues, Professor, Comparative Literature, Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies
Amilcar Shabazz, Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies
Lisa Wexler, Associate Professor, Public Health, Community Health Education
James Young, Professor, English and Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies


Research Affiliates

Ethan Carr, Professor, Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning
Samuel Redman, Associate Director of CHS, Assistant Professor, History, Public History Program
Matthew Hill, Senior Research Fellow

A Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Heritage and Society at UMass Amherst, Matthew’s research examines the use of cultural heritage as a resource for urban regeneration and social development in the Caribbean and Latin America as well as North America. He has published and conducted extensive research on UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and teaches courses on international heritage policy and urban heritage development. As an applied anthropologist, he has also worked with city governments on the sustainable redevelopment of historic park systems and downtowns. His clients have included cities, public parks, foundations, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations, including Philadelphia’s Center City District, the nonprofit technology provider Tech Impact, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.  He graduated from the University of Chicago and holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology.


Graduate Students

Tia Novak, Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, Graduate Research Assistant
Dania Khliafat, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Graduate Research Affiliate
Ben Breger, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Graduate Research Affiliate

Past Graduate Students:

Sean O’Donnell, Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, Research Assistant

Meredith Savage, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Research Assistant

Erica Kowsz, Anthropology, Heritage & Society Editorial Assistant (2012 to 2014)

Evan Taylor, Department of Anthropology, Conference co-ordinator (2012-2015)