My name is Patrick Cooper-McCann, or Cooper for short. I am an Instructor of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University. I will be an Assistant Professor there starting in August 2019.

I grew up just north of Detroit, in the inner ring suburb of Hazel Park. My research and teaching are driven by a commitment to making metropolitan areas like the one I grew up in more equitable and sustainable. I approach this work from an interdisciplinary perspective. I hold a master’s and Ph.D. in urban and regional planning, but I do research that is comparative across both time and space. In addition to planning, my work is in conversation with scholarship on urban design, urban history, urban sociology, urban geography, and African American studies.

I’m currently working on three projects. The first project reinterprets the “shrinking city” as the culmination of a century-long process of racialized decline previously understood through the lens of the “urban ghetto.” The second project analyzes strategies for neighborhood revitalization in places experiencing long-term population loss. The final project is concerned with the past and future of urban parkland. My book project investigates how and why the provision of urban parkland has changed over time, with different levels of government and different organizations in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors taking on different responsibilities. Through a history of Detroit’s park system, from its origins in the early 1800s to the present day, I argue that the structure of park governance matters for socioeconomic and racial equity at a metropolitan scale, influencing which kinds of spaces and facilities get funded, how many spaces and facilities are provided, where they are provided, for whom they are provided, and who sets these priorities.

I can be reached on Twitter at @rethinkdetroit or by email at cooper@wayne.edu.