Chatham University

Environmental Studies Faculty and Staff

Michael H. Finewood Ph.D.

Michael H. Finewood
Assistant Professor of Geography and Sustainability, Falk School of Sustainability
Hometown : Charlotte, NC
Joined Chatham : 2011

Academic Areas of Interest

Political ecology, human geography, environmental geography, urban sustainability, water, climate change, and environmental governance.


Michael Finewood is a human geographer and political ecologist with research and teaching interests in environmental governance, water, climate change, and urban sustainability, with explicit attention to critical geographies and justice. He earned a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of South Carolina, where he trained as a social scientist who works on human/environmental issues. Over his career Dr. Finewood’s interests have focused on environmental perception, expertise, and decision-making, with attention to water resources and urbanization. He has conducted research on the social and ecological impacts of coastal development in South Carolina, hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania, and sea level rise in Virginia. Currently his work centers on two projects: stormwater governance in Pittsburgh and the relationship between food production & climate change.


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC), 2010
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC), 2005
  • B.A., Anthropology, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC), 2003


  • Werner, Eric, Michael H. Finewood, and Sarah Morton (In Progress) It just helps us be more resilient: Climate Change Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies among Small-scale, Sustainable Farmers in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Climate and Development.
  • Finewood, Michael H (In Progress) Combined sewer overflows, grey epistemologies, and the urban political ecology of Pittsburgh’s water governance. Antipode.
  • Cruger, Katherine and Michael H. Finewood (2014) “Blue is the New Green”: Representational Space and the Effective Co-optation of Environmental Justice Discourses in Pennsylvania’s Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling. Human Geography 7(3).
  • Michael H. Finewood and Ryan Holifield (In Progress) Urban Water Governance. WIRES-Water.
  • Kinne, Beth, Michael H. Finewood, and David Yoxtheimer (2014) Interdisciplinary analysis and important questions: A case study of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. Journal of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Louis Martin (Expected 2014) If that would have happened: the moral imperative of environmental history. In A Political Ecology of Exurbia. Laura Taylor and Patrick T. Hurley, eds. Springer Press.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Laura J. Stroup (2012) Fracking and the neoliberalization of the hydro-social cycle in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, 147:72-79.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2012) Feeling the Squeeze: a political ecology of race and amenity-based development in coastal Bluffton, South Carolina. Local Environment, 17(9):991-1011.
  • Stroup, Laura J. and Michael H. Finewood (2011) The Hybrid AMPE Approach: Towards more effective environmental management. Society and Natural Resources, 24(1): 85-94.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Dwayne E. Porter (2010) Theorizing an alternative understanding of ‘disconnects’ between science and management. Southeastern Geographer, 50(1): 130–146.



  • Michael H. Finewood (2014) "Thinking Like an Engineer: Constructing Knowledge and Inequality in Pittsburgh’s Urban Water Governance." Part of the organized session, “Critical Approaches to Urban Water Governance” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Tampa, FL.
  • Michael H. Finewood (2014) "Grey and green epistemologies: an urban political ecology of stormwater governance." Part of the organized session, “Urban Stormwater Management: A problem demanding interdisciplinary approaches” at the AESS Annual Meeting. NY, NY.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Eric Autenreith (2013) “The Urban Political Ecology of Flooding in Pittsburgh: a Qualitative Perspective.” AESS Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2013) “Who's going to help us when our basement floods again? The political ecology of urban water governance in Pittsburgh, PA.” Part of the organized session, “Governing Land and Water” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2012) “Remembering BASF: Memory, race, and the environment along the South Carolina Coast.” Part of the organized session, “Land Use Conflicts” at the AAG Annual Meeting. New York, NY.
  • Laura Stroup and Michael H. Finewood (2011) “The political ecology of hydraulic fracking in Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Part of the organized session, “The Water-Energy Nexus” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Seattle, Washington.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2010) “Redeveloping development: Considerations of justice in discourses of sustainable development, planning, and environmental health science.” Part of the organized session "On Demanding a Politics and Practice of Socially Just Sustainability” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2010) "The political ecology of promulgation: Spectre v. DHEC and the neoliberalization of SC land use." The 17th Annual Critical Conference. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2009) “‘Feeling the Squeeze’: Normalizing Inequalities on the South Carolina Coastal Landscape.” Part of the organized session, “Emerging Political Ecologies” at The 16th Annual Critical Geography Mini-Conference. Athens, Georgia.
  • Finewood, Michael H (2008) “‘Getting a handle on development’: Progress and modernity in Bluffton, South Carolina.” Part of the organized session, “Subdividing nature: The political ecology of governing rural land-use change in the U.S.” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Boston, Massachusetts.