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Michael Borsellino

Ph.D. Student in Urban Planning
Dissertation: Invoking Gentrification, a Conceptual and Contextual History

Michael is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan.  Michael’s dissertation traces the divergent history of “gentrification” in academic and public discourses to understand what is invoked when the contested term is used.  The project pairs latent Dirichlet allocation with historical semantic analysis to explore key spatial and temporal shifts in the meaning and application of gentrification across diffuse users.  Using these shifts as paradigmatic of planning thought, the project turns inward to examine how planners and practitioners position the urban in a greater narrative.

Michael is currently President of the UPDoc Doctoral Group where he is responsible for coordinating professional development workshops and social events.  Additionally, as the Lead Coordinator for LunchUP, a weekly speaker series at Taubman College, he has brought in speakers from six continents to share their work with planning, architecture, and design students.  He is also participating in the Rackham Professional Development Leaders Program. Throughout his studies, Michael has received numerous awards from the Rackham Graduate School and the Bloustein School for merit, research, and travel. 

Prior to his doctoral studies, Michael received his MCRP (2017) and a BA (2015) in Geography from Rutgers University. His studies focused on spatial statistics, geographic techniques, and community and economic development.  He also worked as a GIS Research Analyst on projects funded by NOAA at both Rutgers University and the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts.

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