Birdsall_photo_for_webpageMy research interests revolve around the role place plays in personal and cultural decisions. I am most interested in how place and landscape are participants in peope’s lives and the values they hold. How do places come to be important to people? What are the implications when interpretations of what makes a particular place or type of place important are markedly different among people who value the same place? How are individuals and groups whose values are embedded in place affected by exogenous changes?

I have been exploring the connection between belief and action and how this connection is illustrated by reactions to and formation of places as both locale and identifier. I am currently working on several projects dealing with place preservation, especially natural and memorial landscapes and the intersections between the two.