Massey, Larsen, and Fishman Receive Grant to Study the Racialization of Space in Detroit

Three Taubman College faculty, along with a colleague from the University of Michigan–Dearborn, are recipients of a new grant from the University of Michigan’s Humanities Collaboratory to study the link between race and housing inequality in Detroit. 

Their project, “Racializing Space: Housing and Inequality in Detroit, 1930-2020,” received funding based on the strength of its proposed work, as well as its engagement with understanding, addressing, and dismantling racial inequity. 

“Racializing Space” will map data from multiple censuses and surveys to show how policies and processes of predatory exclusion and inclusion have shaped the residential geography of Detroit and southeast Michigan, manipulating the housing market and contributing to regional segregation and racial wealth gaps. The project tells the story of how Detroit’s decline was produced by focusing on transitions in housing and housing struggles, and how a city previously of homeowners became a majority renter city by 2015.

The research team consists of co-principal investigators Dean Jonathan Massey and Larissa Larsen, director of the urban and regional planning Ph.D. program and associate professor of urban and regional planning; Robert Fishman, co-director of the architecture Ph.D. program and professor of architecture and urban and regional planning; and Josh Akers, an associate professor of geography and urban and regional studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

Housed within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Humanities Collaboratory Equity Initiative Grant supports critical, explicitly anti-racist research. Diversity, equity, and inclusion principles have been at the center of much of the Collaboratory’s thinking, and most of the work it has funded interrogates structures of inequality, but this is its first call for projects that explicitly focus on racial inequality.