Term: Winter 2022
Class Number: 409
Credits: 3
Required: No
Elective: Yes

/ ARCH 409

Egalitarian Metropolis: Urban Studies, Urban Design & Social Justice in Detroit

What does/can/should an egalitarian metropolis look like? And how does a focus on Detroit allow us to ask and answer these conceptual — and practical — questions in ways that draw on a variety of disciplines including architecture, history, urban planning, and the urban humanities? This course offers an interdisciplinary perspective on urban studies, urban design and the ways that concerns around social justice and equity can influence how we think about cities in the past, present and future. Drawing on a range of faculty expertise in LSA and Taubman, this team-taught course also incorporates the voices of practitioners and community members involved in current attempts to revitalize Detroit and “Detroit-like” cities in the United States and   elsewhere. By “Detroit-like cities” we mean urban areas that have experienced negative population growth, deindustrialization, economic disinvestment, racial stratification, environmental injustices and concomitant crises in housing, health care, policing, criminalization, and education. At the same time, Detroit and Detroit-like cities offer opportunities to conjoin critical humanistic inquiry, urban design, and policy solutions for building more equitable and sustainable cities.

This course is co-designed and co-taught as part of the Egalitarian Metropolis Project, which is ca partnership between the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. It combines traditional course materials with a team-based orientation to teaching and learning. Seminar participants are expected to complete regular short written reflections, two 3-5 page essays and a final project that you will complete as a member of an assigned team. 

The learning goals for this course include an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing Detroit and Detroit-like cities; and an appreciation for and knowledge of the ways that the built environment can influence the nature of lived reality. Most centrally this course begins — and ends — with the future. Throughout the semester you’ll be working in assigned teams to create your own distinctive, creative and well-informed


Tue, Thu 2:30-4:00pm  1448 Mason Hall


Robert Fishman