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Joel Batterman

Ph.D. Student in Urban Planning
Dissertation: A Metropolitan Dilemma: Regional Planning, Race and Power in Greater Detroit

Joel’s dissertation, A Metropolitan Dilemma, is a history of the politics of regional planning in metropolitan Detroit. Unbeknownst to many, the Detroit region was once a regional planning pioneer. Its rapid suburbanization and dependence on the automobile occurred not despite the efforts of regional planners, but in large part because of them. By the time some planners began to question the wisdom of continued decentralization, it was too late: a new class of suburban elected officials turned back efforts to reframe regional planning and ensured that the region would continue to sprawl along segregated and unequal lines. A Metropolitan Dilemma makes the case for a “reparative regionalism” that confronts this history and seeks a better future for all.

Joel has a B.A. in history from Reed College and a master’s degree in planning from the University of Michigan. He previously worked for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), and United Community Housing Coalition. He is founder and co-chair of the Motor City Freedom Riders, a group of Detroit bus riders and allies organizing for expanded public transit.

Selected Publications

  • Batterman, Joel. “Don’t Buy Greenland, Buy Greyhound.” InTheseTimes.com. September 19, 2019.

  • Batterman, Joel. “Regional Equity and Regional Planning in Michigan.” Michigan Planner, Vol. 20, September/October 2016.

  • Batterman, Joel. “Race, Class and Public Transit in the Motor City." Progressive Planning 189 (2011).

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