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About Elizabeth Brabec

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: 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. until 2002.


2015 Present Director of the Center for Heritage & Society, University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage & Society
Present Editor, Taylor and Francis Publishing ‐ Heritage & Society (Journal)
Present Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Present Research Associate, Czech University of Life Sciences (Ceska Zemedelska Univerzita v Praze) ‐ Faculty of Environmental Sciences
20072013 Department Head, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
20042007 Department Head and Professor, Utah State University ‐ Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
20022004 Principal, Johnson Hill - Land Ethics Studio
19972004 Associate Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor ‐ School of Natural Resources and the Environment
19862002 President and Founder, Land Ethics, Inc.
19841986 Historic Preservation and Community Development Planner, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Curriculum Vitae


1992 Juris Doctor, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
1984 Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Guelph ‐ Department of Landscape Architecture
1981 Bachelor of Science with honors, University of Guelph

Contact Information

office: 349 Design Building
mailing address:
210 Design Building
University of Massachusetts
551 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA  01003-2901

tel: 413-545-6627
fax: 413-545-1772


Cultural Resource Documentation and Planning (13)

Open Space Analysis and Conservation (6)

Land Use Law and Policy (9)