Setha M. Low is Professor of Environmental Psychology and Anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and spent her early career as Assistant and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, and City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania where she became interested in cultural aspects of design and the anthropology of space and place. She has published extensively including On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture (2000, University of Texas Press), Theorizing the City (edited,1999, Rutgers University Press), Children of the Urban Poor: Sociocultural Development in Guatemala City (with F. J. Johnston, 1995, Westview Press), Place Attachment (edited with I. Altman, 1992, Plenum Publishing), Housing, Culture, and Design (edited with E. Chambers,1989, University of Pennsylvania Press), as well Culture, Politics and Medicine in Costa Rica (1985, Gordon and Beach).
Professor Low has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship a Fulbright Research Fellowship, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, The Canadian Social Research Council, and the National Science Foundation. On November 18, 2000, she was awarded the Textor Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association, a national career award.
Setha Low is writing and lecturing about gated communities, editing a volume entitled Cultural Spaces for Blackwell Publishers with Denise Lawrence, and completing a book on Creating Cultural Spaces for the University of Texas Press. She continues to be interested in the politics of public space both in New York City and East Hampton. As Director of the Public Space Research Group at the Center for Human Environments (CUNY) she has completed studies of cultural diversity in New York City and National Park Service parks, and consults on cultural values in historic preservation for the Getty Institute in Los Angeles and Municipal Arts Society of New York City.