James Buckley joined the University of Oregon in 2016 as the inaugural Venerable Chair in Historic Preservation and the founding director of UO’s Historic Preservation program in Portland, OR. He teaches courses in architectural and cultural history, city planning, and urban development.
Buckley is an urban historian and a practicing city planner with more than 25 years of leadership in the fields of housing and community development. As a builder with non-profit organizations, he has completed more than 4,000 housing units in several award-winning developments, including adaptive reuse of historic buildings, mixed-use low-income housing, and supportive housing for homeless households.
Buckley’s academic interests include the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. His forthcoming book City of Wood: Redwood Lumber and the City of San Francisco, 1850-1929 (University of Texas Press, 2020) explores urban development in Northern California as a product of the harvesting of California’s vast natural resources. He has written several articles on heritage conservation in minority communities, including a study of LGBTQ heritage conservation in San Francisco and an investigation of the cultural landscape of Latinos in California’s Central Valley. In 2015, he served as a Fulbright Senior Fellow at the Universidad Politécnica Madrid studying new approaches for “urban regeneration” in historic neighborhoods in Spanish cities. In 2018, Buckley received a Tinker Hatfield Research Award from UO’s College of Design to carry out an interdisciplinary research project on the built environment of Portland’s historically-Black Albina neighborhood. He is also a director of UO’s Collaborative on Inclusive Urbanism.
Buckley holds a BA from Yale University in Art History and American Studies and has both a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning and a PhD in Architecture from U.C. Berkeley. He is on the board of the Society of Architectural Historians and is currently the President of the Vernacular Architecture Forum.