steve wheeler portrait

Position Title

  • Landscape Architecture + Environmental Design
165 Hunt Hall

Stephen M. Wheeler (Steve) is a Professor in the Landscape Architecture Program of the Department of Human Ecology at U.C. Davis, and Chair of the Community Development Graduate Group. Prior to 2007 he taught in Community and Regional Planning Program at the University of New Mexico, and in the Department of City and Regional Planning at U.C. Berkeley, where he received his Master of City Planning and Ph.D. degrees. He received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College.

Prof. Wheeler teaches LDA 205/GEO 233 Urban Planning and Design, CRD 260 Thesis Seminar, LDA 3 Sustainable Development Theory and Practice, and LDA 142 Applying Sustainable Strategies. He is interested in how many different planning and design strategies can work together to produce more sustainable communities. His research focuses on 1) theory and practice of sustainable development; 2) climate change planning; and 3) urban morphology and the evolution of built landscapes in metropolitan regions. Other interests include regional planning and theory of social change.

Prof. Wheeler is the author of four books: Reimagining Sustainable Cities: Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Ecological Communities (with Christina D. Rosan); Planning for Sustainability: Towards Livable, Equitable, and Ecological Communities (Routledge; second edition 2013); Climate Change and Social Ecology: A New Perspective on the Climate Challenge (Routledge, 2012); and The Sustainable Urban Development Reader  (Routledge; fourth edition 2023). He is currently working on a third edition of Planning for Sustainability as well as a new book entitled The Compassionate Society, and has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews.



Wheeler received a 2022 Faculty Sustainability Champion award from U.C. Davis, and a 2016 Eco-Hero award from Cool Davis for his work in promoting low-car, zero-net-energy infill development in Davis, CA. In 2015 he received an Academic Leadership Award from the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) for research and policy work that helped develop the State of California’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program. Wheeler’s other awards include the 2009 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning, an Honorable Mention for the Chester Rapkin Award for best article published in the Journal of Planning Education and Design, the Chicago Institute of Architecture and Urbanism Award, the Munsell Memorial Award, Best Education Project Awards from the California and Bay Area chapters of the American Planning Association (for Smart Infill), and first place in the Infill Category of the Housing the Next Ten Million urban design competition sponsored by the Great Valley Center in California (with Michael Larice).

In the past Wheeler has served as editor of The Urban Ecologist journal, as Transportation Commissioner for the City of Berkeley, California, as an urban planning consultant, and as a lobbyist for environmental organizations in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Village Homes neighborhood of Davis CA, and enjoys gardening, bicycle riding, backpacking, and playing tennis.


Ph.D., City and Regional Development. University of California, Berkeley, 2000.


M.C.P. University of California, Berkeley, 1995


B.A. Psychology. Darthmouth College, 1979.

Curriculum Vitae with publication links