Project Founder and Director


Tim Beatley

Tim is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the last twenty-five years. Much of Beatley’s work focuses on the subject of sustainable communities, and creative strategies by which cities and towns can fundamentally reduce their ecological footprints, while at the same time becoming more livable and equitable places. Beatley believes that sustainable and resilient cities represent our best hope for addressing today’s environmental challenges. Beatley is the author or co-author of more than fifteen books on these subjects, including Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities (recently translated into Chinese), Habitat Conservation Planning, Native to Nowhere: Sustaining Home and Community in a Global Age, and Planning for Coastal Resilience.

Project Team Leaders

Carla-HeadshotCarla Jones

Carla Jones is a Ph.D. student in City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology and has been a team member on the Biophilic Cities Project since it started in 2012. Before beginning her program at Georgia Tech, she was a Lecturer and Program Director at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. She taught in the Urban and Environmental Planning and Architecture departments. She has taught courses on environmental sustainability, healthy urban planning, community food systems, community-based projects, and health policy. She also managed projects within the Center for Design and Health, which pursues cross-disciplinary research to advance the design and planning of patient-centered medical facilities and healthy buildings, neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Carla holds Master of Public Health and Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degrees from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include the measuring the impacts of the built and natural environments on mental health, establishing best practices for community engagement, and evaluating the health impacts of projects, policies, and programs.

trimanJulia G. Triman

Julia G. Triman is a Ph.D. student in the Constructed Environment at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, and has been working on the Biophilic Cities Project since 2012. Julia holds a Masters degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. Her masters thesis explored hands-on field-based methods for engaging community members in planning urban parks through a case study of the planning process for Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore. Julia also holds an M.A. in Deaf Cultural Studies from Gallaudet University, and she worked at Gallaudet for several years in various capacities, including as Coordinator for the university’s 2022 Campus Plan. Julia’s current research explores the pedestrian experience of spontaneous urban roadside vegetation.

Our Valuable Team Members

JD-HeadshotJames D. Brown

James D. Brown, known by most as JD, is an attorney whose practice has focused on land use and environmental law and is now pursuing a degree in planning. JD received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. In Portland, Oregon, JD was a staff attorney with the Crag Law Center where he helped to spearhead the organization’s Coastal Law Project, which is focused on providing pro bono assistance to coastal communities to help them address local land use and environmental issues. JD now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is working with the Biophilic Cities Project to develop model codes for use in biophilic planning.

DSC_0075Kevin Fraser

Kevin Fraser is a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning student at the University of Virginia. His rural upbringing among the rocks, conifers and lakes of the Canadian Shield instilled a passion for nature at a young age that persists today. An ingrained sense of stewardship eventually yielded a desire to shape outdoor spaces, leading to his completion of a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. Upon graduation, Kevin pursued work and study opportunities in the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and Chile, before the rugged coastal landscape of Vancouver, BC beckoned, where he has spent the past four and a half years working at a leading landscape architecture practice. His professional and personal experiences within some of the world’s great cities have imparted a unique appreciation and understanding of the urban condition that he is eager to expand upon and apply in his graduate pursuits. The prospect of contributing to the Biophilic Cities Project was a key factor in Kevin’s decision to attend UVA, as he aims to explore the issues of equity and health inherent in urban rewilding.

Megan-HeadshotMegan Friedman

Megan Friedman is a first-year Master of Architecture candidate. She graduated form Duke University in 2015 with a B.A. in Art History with a concentration in architecture. She was originally drawn to this project because of a belief of the inherent violent nature of architecture that she observed in her studies. She was eager to learn more about how architecture could improve the environment rather than hurt it by looking past parameters set by LEED and the US Green Building Council and examining humans’ relation to occupied space and nature. Currently, she is studying this through precedents of biophilic buildings, or rather, buildings that attempt to reconnect with and understand a beneficial effect of nature.

While not spending long hours in studio, she also enjoys tap dancing, whitewater kayaking, and playing the banjo.

kgKatherine Gloede

Katie Gloede is a Constructed Environment PhD student in the department of Architecture. She holds a B.S. in Geography and Environmental Inquiry from Penn State and an M.A. in Environmental Conservation from New York University. Originally from New Jersey, Katie has previously worked as a data journalist for building industry publications and as an environmental Educator. While working in weatherization and energy efficiency in New York City, Superstorm Sandy hit, which sparked her desire to study retrofitting existing multifamily housing for both energy efficiency and resilience. Her interest in working with the Biophilic Cities Project stems from biophilic design’s application in both ecological and social resilience as well as her background in environmental science.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cara Pattullo

Cara Pattullo is a graduate student in the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning Program at the University of Virginia. She was born on the west coast, but spent the majority of her childhood just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach. Growing up at the beach, she has always felt connected to water and has a passion for nature. Cara first became interested in urban environments after taking introductory planning classes as an undergraduate student at UVA, where she studied Environmental Sciences. Her academic career has focused on the intersections between natural and built environmental systems, particularly as they relate to preparing coastal communities for future climate change impacts.

 Martha Morrismarthamorrispic

Martha is a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning student at the University of Virginia.  She was born and raised next to the Blue Ridge Mountains not far from Charlottesville and graduated from the College of William and Mary.  After college, she began working on organic farms in Virginia and North Carolina, which resulted in a participatory education about localized food systems (and many really good sunburns).  She also lived and worked for two years at Innisfree Village, a farm-based residential community for adults with intellectual disabilities.  She currently manages a community kitchen and gardening program in Charlottesville.  Martha is looking forward to infusing her love of healthy soil, people, and landscapes into the work of environmental and urban planning.

photoHeather Zhang

Heather is a graduate student in the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program at the University of Virginia. She is from Hangzhou, China, a place where a lake and the hills surrounding its three sides form the cultural landscape of the city. She was drawn to this project for further learning the meaning of natural resources to the urban lives. Heather holds Bachelor of Architecture degree from South China University of Technology, and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Hong Kong, and she worked as architect in Hong Kong for one year. In the Biophilic Cities Projects, she has focused on the connection of water and urban fabric, as well as the precedents of biophilic buildings in Asia.

DSC_0109 (1)Amani Farooque

Amani Farooque is a 3rd Year Systems Engineering student, studying how humans interact with technology in order to create the most effective interfaces. Amani’s interests include sustainability and public health. She, along with Maddie Stigler, maintains the Biophilic Cities website. 


Past Team Members

DSC_0009_1Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy is a landscape architect from North Carolina with a passion for connecting people with nature through design. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia with a specialization in Urban Design. Before coming to UVA and Biophilic Cities, Julie worked at the Natural Learning Initiative in North Carolina State University’s College of Design, an organization committed to connecting children to nature and promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet. She assisted and led many design projects including parks, nature centers, schools, child care centers, and gardens. Julie also collaborated with NLI colleagues and the National Wildlife Federation to develop free guides for creating nature play areas for children. At the Biophilic Cities Project she is excited to research and write about how cities around the world can celebrate and integrate nature to advance the well-being of all their citizens. Never one to preach what she doesn’t practice, when Julie isn’t studying or working, she can often be found hiking, gardening, and exploring local parks and greenways.

Briana Bergstrom

Briana is a graduate student in the Urban and Environmental Planning Program at the University of Virginia and a Research Assistant with the Biophilic Cities Project. She is a native of Northern California and comes to Virginia by way of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and most recently, Washington, D.C.. She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and has used her educational background to explore the relationship between cities and nature in both the public and non-profit sectors. She has held positions in habitat restoration, community garden management, water quality and urban storm water management, and sustainability planning. Her interests are constantly expanding but currently include urban ecology, natural resource protection and habitat restoration, park management and planning, sustainability planning, and the general awareness and promotion of nature in the urban realm.

Amanda-HeadshotAmanda Beck

The Biophilic Cities Project was the key that swayed Amanda to choose the UVA Master of Urban and Environmental Planning. A rural childhood in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest nurtured a love of mountains, trees, and all things wild, so joining the BC Project was a way to combine an ethic that valued nature with finding ways to make city life more enjoyable and sustainable. Working with Biophilic Cities has allowed Amanda to research and study cases that go beyond “sustainable” to see cities that are reigniting citizen discovery and exploration of nature. She’s also interested in the less talked about spiritual element that connections with nature provide. Some of her favorite places for urban nature are the Spokane River flowing through downtown Spokane, WA, and the abundance of birdsong in Charlottesville, VA.

Dita-HeadshotDita Beard

Dita Beard holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Performance. As an artist living in urban environments and working in health care during the day, she became interested in how the arts can have a positive impact on social justice, ecology and urban health. She also became an avid urban nature lover, organic gardener and Richmond, VA “river rat”, spending many of her days as a city dweller elbows deep in soil, hiking the trails around the river or lying on the rocks in the James. Now pursing her Master’s in Urban Planning with the Urban Design Certificate at University of Virginia, working with the Biophilic Cities Project has further deepened her commitment to sustainable, biophilic, equitable, creative and community oriented cities.

Other previous team members include Holly Hendrix, Harriett Jameson, Mariah Gleason, and Sarah Schramm.