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Robert Mugerauer

Robert Mugerauer


Planning has its power in looking further forward than most of us have time to do.  However, in some cases a strong driving group, even though it may have a coherent and functional plan, is imposed upon a population and place.  To counter this I come to planning with the intent of maximizing ways for people not only to speak for themselves, but to be really head and responded to.  To help in such a trajectory I combine sophisticated theory and pragmatic attention to effective action—especially by using qualitative research methods to focus on the everyday lifeworld’s problems such as health and well-being, ecological transformation, and housing.  In the past I have published extensively in theoretical and philosophical venues and have worked professionally on low-income housing (mainly with migrant and seasonal farmworkers), permaculture design, non-profit planning and building projects.

Recently I have been working to develop ways in which complexity theory can be combined with continental philosophies such as phenomenology to explore how neighborhoods can be self-organizing and sustaining, how the dynamic relationship between the built environment and health/well-being operates, and how psychological therapy can benefit from inducing the spatial realm of clients.  In using these approaches, especially as practically applied in qualitative research I work on many interdisciplinary projects with students from urban design and planning, architecture, landscape architecture, anthropology, nursing, and social work.  As a result, my focus is not only on specific “content areas” such as health planning, eco-design, or the cultural urban ecology, but on applying qualitative research in areas where the student has a focal expertise in such areas and I help provide the research methodology.

My appointment is joint between urban design & planning and architecture, in addition to which I am an adjunct faculty in landscape architecture and anthropology. Beside my appointment in Urban Design & Planning, I am adjunct in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and have been a visiting-adjunct faculty member in the School of Health and Social Care within the Center for Qualitative Research at Bournemouth University, UK.  I am a cofounder of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy and the Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology quarterly; I am an active member of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments and the International Human Research Council.  I serve on the Board of Editors for JAPA (Journal of Architectural and Planning Research), and am a co-editor of Lexington Books series, Topophilia: Transdisciplinary Studies of Place/Space, Environment, Design, and Planning and of The University of Texas Press series Constructs.