Cities are the key to global sustainability. The book, America’s Addiction to Automobiles, is an ambitious attempt to establish this idea in the general public. The book takes a provocative look at America’s dependency on the automobile and how its potential impact on urban design will either make or break our economy, health, and quality of life. Indeed, the car is a central player in an approach to modern life that threatens our very survival.

But it is not enough to say “cities will save us.” They have to be built correctly. That means building cities that are designed in accordance with the human scale, and that cities are governed at the community scale. We know how to build good cities, and we even know how to govern them democratically. We just don’t.

So why do we still build automobile dependent cities,  and why do we let private interests govern us? These are great questions, and the book provides a unique and compelling answer to both.

For now, let’s admit that it is not enough to know how to build better cities: we’ve been trying for 50 years, and we have failed to turn things around. What our brilliant designers have largely ignored is that producing the city is a fundamentally political concern.

If the body politic is to choose better cities, then people will need to be equipped to evaluate their choices. The ability to accurately evaluate the social world requires certain skills. The book is written to support the development of these skills. One thing is certain, if you read this book, you will know exactly what the city is and does, and you will know exactly how the automobile interacts with cities.

My belief is that when people have the tools to objectively evaluate the social and urban world, they will choose multimodal and democratically-governed cities.


Introducing “Cities are the Key” – Part One.

Over 37,000 Americans died in vehicle-related crashes in 2016, making cars deadlier than firearms. Car crashes have killed 2,000,000 Americans since 1970. That’s just the crashes. Many more die from the pollution they create. Still more die from the poor physical health that cars promote, like obesity and asthma, making us less resilient to disease. …


Current Research in Sustainable Urban Development

My published research currently focuses on the municipal, county, and metropolitan scales, and uses data from over 60 different government and private sources. I have established basic associations between multimodality and a wide variety of urban outcomes. Measures of public health include pre-mature death, life expectancy, low birthweight, obesity, and daily exercise.  Economic outcomes include racial and gender based income inequality, rents and home values, overspending on housing, wages and median household income. Quality of life measures include indicators such as the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and Sperling’s Places Rated,  plus other measures like commute times. An entire chapter is devoted to multimodality’s impact on air quality in my book, America’s Addiction to Automobiles.

Download my research on multimodality here

I also publish research in education for sustainable development. I am interested in topics like student interest as a learning outcome, and assessing difficult course objectives like affective outcomes, and proclivities for interdisciplinarity.

Download my research on education for sustainable development here


Lectures in Sustainability and Public Policy

I teach several courses in urban theory and professional practice, including:

  • Housing and Community Development
  • The Public Policy Process
  • Public Policies in Urban Arboriculture
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Sustainable Urban Development

I also teach several methods courses:

  • Introduction to Methods
  • Comparative Urban Analysis
  • Survey Methodology
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Statistics and Public Policy
  • Multivariate Statistics

Click here to see some of my favorite powerpoints.