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Winter 2020 DEI Spotlight - Robert Pfaff


Name: Robert Pfaff

Preferred Pronoun: He/Him/His 

Affiliation/Title: PhD Candidate

Degree(s): Bachelor of History; Master of History; PhD in Urban and Regional Planning, Candidate 2021

Home Country: United States

Language(s) Spoken: English (native), French, Spanish 

Gender Identity: Male

Racial Identity/Ethnicity: Caucasian 

Other Identities: Gay, Motorcyclist, Hiker, Athlete, Educator, Ally

Favorite food: Sushi. 

Favorite book and why: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig (1974) illuminates structures of knowing, and how to live in a world of technology we do not understand.

Favorite thing to do when not at TC: Travel National Parks by motorcycle, backcountry hiking, exploring coffee shops in Detroit, or attending music festivals.

DEI Contribution/Highlight: I am in my third year as co-coordinator of the Detroit School. In this role, I help curate an interdisciplinary invited speaker series that explores how declining cities like Detroit impact urban policy. I also am the former president of the Planning + Architecture Research Group (PARG) which sought to bridge disciplinary divides between Urban Planners and Architects within the college, and increase doctoral student representation in the administration. 

Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important to you? In my research, I am primarily concerned with the historical processes that segregated the built environment. My goal is to become an educator that contributes to the dismantling of systems of oppression and segregation through awareness and teaching, which necessitates listening to, and learning from, diverse voices and experiences.


Additional Winter 2020 Featured "I Am Taubman" Spotlights: 

Lauren Lacks. Bryan Norwood. Alison Rivett. UPSA (Urban Planning Student Association)

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Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning