Joseph Scarpaci of Blacksburg, Va., professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the university’s Al Sturm Award for Excellence in Faculty Research. Scarpaci is being recognized for his work on his book, Plazos and Barrios: Heritage Tourism and Globalization in the Latin American Centro Historico.

The book explores how heritage tourism and globalization are reshaping the Latin American historic centers, or centro historico. Scarpaci analyzed the transformation of the urban core from town plaza to historic center in nine cities: Bogota, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cartagena, Colombia; Cuenca, Ecuador; Havana, Cuba; Montevideo, Uruguay; Puebla, Mexico; Quito, Ecuador; and Trinidad, Cuba. His book tells how these pressures, combined with the advantage of a downtown location, have raised the potential of redeveloping these inner city areas but have also created the dilemma of how to restore and conserve them while responding to new economic imperatives.

Scarpaci received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

The Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Award honors the memory of Albert Lee Sturm (1911-1998), a founding member of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Virginia Tech and university research professor in political science. It recognizes scholarship that contributes significantly to the advancement of broad-based learning.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.