David Prytherch

Professor of Geography

Miami University
103 Shideler Hall
Oxford, Ohio 45056


  • BS, Geography. Pennsylvania State University (1992)
  • MA, Geography. University of Arizona (1999)
  • PhD, Geography. University of Arizona (2003)


  • GEO 101: Global Forces, Local Diversity
  • GEO 201: Geography of Urban Diversity
  • GEO 451/551: Urban & Regional Planning
  • GEO 454/554: Urban Geography
  • GEO 459/559: Advanced Urban and Regional Planning
  • GEO 467/567: Land Use, Law and the State


I have long been fascinated by two questions. Why do urban landscapes take the shape they do? And how can planning produce a more ‘ideal’ city? My interest in urbanization and planning has emerged from watching landscape transformations in places ranging from my hometown New Hope, Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh to Tucson, Arizona, to Valencia, Spain, to Oxford, Ohio. In each I have sought to better understand the tensions between urbanization and the uniqueness of place. For me, geography offers a uniquely integrative way of thinking about changing urban landscapes.  Sustainability provides a framework for thinking about what a more ideal city would look like.  Planning offers a way to translate that vision into practice. I have been lucky enough to combine these interests in my research, teaching, and community service here at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

 I am an urban, political, and cultural geographer who specializes in urban planning. But I am a quintessentially generalist geographer. I have a B.S. in Geography from Penn State University and worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. My M.A. and Ph.D. are from the University of Arizona. My research has explored the ways urban and regional politics are negotiated through the planning of local landscapes. I’ve explored this question in Tucson, where explosive growth threatens a scenic landscape — the Sonoran Desert. In Spain I have studied how planners struggle to navigate between a competitive entrepreneurialism and a fiercely regional politics of place (a project that has given me the opportunity to work not only in Spanish, but also Catalan-Valenciano). In the U.S. I've researched the politics of land use and transportation planning, most recently focusing on how the legal geographies of the public street manifest social justice (or its absence). I am increasingly committed to engaging my research with pressing policy questions, in Ohio and abroad.

 I am dedicated to good teaching, and have been honored to be Miami’s Associated Student Government “Professor of the Year” in 2008. I currently advise both major in Urban and Regional Planning and co-major in Sustainability. I teach lower division introductory courses in human and urban geography, as well as more advanced classes on planning and sustainability. These courses encourage students to not only comprehend the urban landscape in wider context, but also engage it through field research and planning projects. I have particularly enjoyed connecting my teaching in urban planning to local sustainability challenges. In GEO 454/554 “Urban Geography” students critically assess the processes and patterns of urban sprawl in the United States, and learn how to apply green urbanism techniques through client-based planning projects. In GEO 459/559 "Advanced Urban and Regional Planning" students work with local communities to solve urban problems, learning planning by doing planning.

 I have been an advisor and reader on a range of M.A. research projects. I encourage students to define topics in areas of interest that align with my own expertise in regionalism, planning, and sustainability. I have enjoyed helping graduate students explore their interests in depth, while progressing efficiently towards their degree. I have enjoyed co-authoring manuscripts with M.A. advisees, resulted in quality publications.

 I am most excited when I can connect my research and teaching to community service. On campus I have been honored to serve as the Miami University Sustainability Coordinator, and chair of both the university’s Sustainability Committee and the Campus Planning Committee. Off campus, I am Chair of the City of Oxford Planning Commission, and am active in a variety of community projects: helping develop a Safe Routes to School program for our local school, and collaborating to fund a multi-use Oxford Area Trail System. I continually try to connect these experiences to the classroom, offering students opportunities to engage local planning problems and develop fresh ideas for improving the city and campus we inhabit.

Recent Publications

Books (Peer-reviewed)

  • D. Prytherch (2018). Law, Engineering, and the American Right-of-Way.
  • Cidell, J. & D. Prytherch (Eds.). 2015. Transport, Mobility, and the Productio of Urban Space. New York: Routledge.

Book Chapters

  • Prytherch, D. & J. Cidell. 2015. Introduction: Transportation mobilities, and rethinking urban geographies of flow in Cidell, J. & D. Prytherch (Eds.). Transport, Mobilityand the Production of Urban Space. New York: Routledge.
  • Pryterhch, D. 2015. Rules of the road: Choreographing mobiliity in the everyday intersection in Cidell, J. & D. Prytherch (Eds.). Transport, Mobility, and the Production of Urban Space. New York: Routledge.

Peer-Reviewed Articles in Professional Journals

  • Prytherch, D., 2021. Reimagining the physical/social infrastructure of the American street: policy and design for mobility justice and conviviality. Urban Geography.
  • Sukaryavichute, E., D. Prytherch. 2018. Transit planning, access, and justice: Evolving visions of bus rapid transit and the Chicago street. Journal of Transport Geography.
  • Prytherch, D. 2016. Where a subdivision is not a 'subdivision:' State enabling statutes and the local regulation (or not) of land division in the U.S. Journal of Planning Education and Research.
  • Prytherch, D. & J. Vicent Boira i Maiques. 2015. Mediterranean regionalism from territory to trains: Spatial politics and planning of macro-regions and transport networks in Spain. Space and Polity 19 (2), pp. 110-131.
  • Prytherch, D. & L Hartman. 2015. Streets to live in: Justice, space, and sharing the road. Environmental Ethics 37 (1), pp. 21-44.
  • Prytherch, D. and Daly, D. 2015. The rights and duties of circulation on the American street: To “proceed uninterruptedly” or “with reasonable care?” Mobilities. (collaboration with undergraduate student)
  • DePriest-Hricko, L. and Prytherch, D. 2013. Planning and sense of place in a ‘dying’ downtown: Articulating memories and visions in Middletown, OH. Journal of Urban Design 18 (1): pp. 145-165. (collaboration with graduate student)
  • Zabik, M. and Prytherch, D. 2013. Challenges to planning for rural character: A case study from exurban southern New England. Cities 31: pp. 186-196. (collaboration with graduate student)
  • Prytherch, D. 2012. Codifying the right-of-way: Statutory geographies of urban mobility and the street. Urban Geography 33(2): pp. 295-314.