I teach the following courses at Wayne State University in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. See below for brief descriptions, syllabi, and handouts from prior semesters.


US 2000 – Introduction to Urban Studies (W21 syllabus)

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of urban studies. It satisfies two General Education requirements: Social Inquiry (SI) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). My section of the course (#5) is designed to help students make sense of metropolitan Detroit, including why the city of Detroit declined, how the region became so racially and economically divided, and what can be done to make the region more equitable and sustainable. In the first part of the course, students study the evolution of American cities and suburbs over the past two centuries, with a focus on the Detroit area. In the second part of the course, students compare the built and social environments of different places and learn how to design places to be more inclusive for people of different backgrounds. In the final part of the course, students learn about a variety of policy issues confronting cities like Detroit, including challenges related to regional planning, economic development, environmental justice, and public health.


UP 5110 – Urban Planning Process (F21 syllabus)

This course is required for all first-year students in the Master of Urban Planning program. This course introduces the practice of urban planning, with a special focus on the distinct challenges and opportunities that professional planners encounter in “legacy cities” like Detroit. The class begins with an overview of the development of American cities and the evolution of urban planning as a profession. Students learn how planning has shaped metropolitan America—with a particular focus on Detroit—and how planners’ goals and methods have changed in response to different crises. Students are then introduced to guest speakers and plans that showcase novel approaches to land use planning, zoning, transportation planning, economic development, neighborhood planning, open space planning, placemaking, equity planning, participatory planning, and sustainability, public health, and environmental justice. The course is sometimes cross-listed for undergraduates as UP 3530 – Introduction to Urban Planning.

Handout: Urban Planning Resources in Michigan (PDF coming soon)

UP 6340 – Community Development (F21 syllabus)

This course prepares students to lead community-based initiatives to empower urban residents and create more equitable neighborhoods. In the first half, students learn about community organizing and capacity building, with a focus on environmental justice, community benefits, and secure housing. The second half of the course focuses on the workings of the community development industry. Students learn how government agencies, community development financial institutions, and community-based nonprofits partner to help low-income families increase their financial resources, access affordable housing, and secure high-quality education and jobs. The course also provides a basic overview of grant writing, theories of change, and program evaluation. This course is designed to complement UP 6680, but the two courses can be taken independently and in either order.

Handout 1: Community Development Resources in Metro Detroit (PDF coming soon)

Handout 2: Resources and Tips on Grant Writing and Evaluation (PDF coming soon)

UP 6680 – Neighborhood Decline and Revitalization (W21 syllabus)

This course is required of all students in the Housing and Community Development concentration. It examines why some neighborhoods decline and how neighborhoods can be revitalized. Students consider what neighborhoods are, what functions they play, why they can change in terms of income levels, racial composition, physical conditions, commerce, public services, and social interrelationships, and how the livability of neighborhoods changes in response. Based on this analysis, students evaluate a variety of policy options for dealing with neighborhood income segregation, racial segregation, and physical deterioration. The goal is for students to develop analytical frameworks that will permit them to understand the origins and consequences of neighborhood change and offer prescriptions for revitalizing neighborhoods and forestalling their decline. This course is designed to complement UP 6340, but the two courses can be taken independently and in either order.

Handout: Guide to Research Detroit Neighborhoods (PDF coming soon)


Last updated November 16, 2021.