Taubman College

Faculty Directory

  • Kimberley Kinder
  • Michigan Society Fellow in Urban & Regional Planning and in Natural Resources & Environment
  • Office: 2223A
  • kkinder@umich.edu
  • CV

Teaching Areas:

  • Urban Studies
  • Social Justice
  • Spatial Politics

Kimberley Kinder is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning. Dr. Kinder has degrees in geography, architecture, urban design, and environmental policy. She received her MSc in Geography from the University of Oxford and her PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and political aspects of urban landscapes. She is the author of two forthcoming books on the subject and has a third book project under development.

Kinder’s most recent book, Cities Without Services: Do-It-Yourself Urbanism in Detroit’s Spaces of Disinvestment (University of Minnesota Press, under contract) explores how residents in Detroit cope with market disinvestment and government contraction by taking charge of abandoned landscapes. Residents sweep public streets, board empty buildings, mow vacant lots, and maintain city parks. They use landscape props to promote neighborhood safety, street-level photographs to advance community interests, and murals and gardens to create landscapes of hope. With the City of Detroit significantly weakened by longstanding fiscal crises, these self-provisioned, spatial interventions are crucial in resident efforts to stabilize blocks and exert social control over their neighborhoods.

Kinder’s first book, The Politics of Urban Water: Changing Waterscapes in Amsterdam (University of Georgia Press, forthcoming, 2015), explores how active residents in Amsterdam deploy waterscapes when rallying around a variety of political concerns. Redeveloped waterfronts are trademark landscapes in many post-industrial cities, and the market logics underlying these investments often dominate scholarly and media debates. However, in Amsterdam, squatters, queers, artists, historians, environmentalists, climatologists, tourists, reporters, and cabinet officials also bring waterscapes to life. Their interventions pull water in new directions, connecting it to political discussions about affordable housing, cultural tolerance, climate change, and national identity. These practices pluralize water as a political actor, bringing rich undercurrents of friction to urban shores.

Kinder’s current research focuses on the politics of landscape, memory, and belonging in Detroit’s Arab-American communities. This research builds on Kinder’s previous analysis of the social, cultural, and political aspects of provisional landscapes, and it explores how informal spatial practices “travel” through the interconnected domestic, commercial, institutional, and recreational spaces of the city.

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