Coming from a background of architectural history, my recent and current work focuses on spatial, ideological, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of suburbia. The critical issues on which my teaching and writing focus have included the role of built space in the production of identity, the complex and various functions of dwellings in human cultures, and the role of ideology, media, and cultural practices in the formation of present-day suburbia.

My book Architecture and Suburbia (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) examines the history of suburbia from its genesis in late seventeenth-century Enlightenment England to its manifestation as the ideal of the American dream. The book traces the genesis of the single nuclear family detached house from early eighteenth century Britain, to nineteenth-century domestic landscapes of repose and pastoral plenty, to twentieth-century American nationalist politics that promoted universal private home ownership. The book was awarded the 2007 Alice Davis Hitchcock Award by the Society of Architectural Historians.

I have also written on British architectural literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, colonial planning in Calcutta, colonial suburbs in India and Indonesia, British eighteenth-century landscape gardens, British and American nineteenth-century suburban planning, and spatial theory.

Educational Background & Specialties
Open Close

Educational Background

  • M.A.: Art History, Harvard University, 1969 - none
  • B.A.: Art History, Yale University, 1968 - none
  • Ph.D.: Art History, Harvard University, 1977 - none


  • Architecture and identity
  • Architecture and landscape in 18th and 19th century Britain, America, and India
  • The American dream and suburbia
  • Urban space, place, and history
  • Space, in theory and in art
  • Suburbanization
  • Suburban media and the single-family Home