June Manning Thomas / University of Michigan, Urban and Regional Planning

Equity Planning in a Constrained City
February 26, 2014 - 5:30pm


June Manning Thomas will present the lecture "Equity Planning in a Constrained City" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26. The lecture is free and open to the public. Thomas is Centennial Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. In 2003 she was inducted as a fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners. She is the president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2013-15).

About the lecture: Professional planners have viewed equity planning, a particular form of advocacy planning, as one way to allow the planning profession to help address issues of social injustice.  Particularly as formulated under the leadership of Cleveland’s Norman Krumholz, such planning aimed to offer “choices” to those who had few choices.  The broader goal, of helping to create social justice in planning and in cities and metropolitan areas, remains important and frequently talked-about but difficult to attain.  Reaching such a goal becomes increasingly challenging in urban places that have suffered from “constraints” such as deindustrialization, fiscal crisis, and abandonment.  This talk will consider what issues face planners and allied professionals in such places.  It will focus on the city of Detroit as one case, albeit extreme, of a constrained city:  there planners may support social justice in principle but face both challenges and opportunities in the quest to help bring it about.

Thomas’ books include the co-edited Urban Planning and the African American Community: In the Shadows (Sage, 1996); Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, second edition Wayne State University Press, 2013); Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi (Association for Baha'i Studies, 1999); the co-edited, Margaret Dewar and June Thomas, The City after Abandonment (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), as well as many articles and book chapters. Her work in progress includes the co-edited, June Thomas and Henco Bekkering, Mapping Detroit: Evolving Land Use Patterns and Connections (Wayne State University Press, forthcoming 2014), and ongoing research on both the aftermath of the foreclosure process in Detroit and the social equity dimensions of urban planning.

Thomas writes about diversification of the planning profession, planning history, and social equity in neighborhoods and urban revitalization. Recent research assessed the role of minority-race planners in the quest for a just city, explored the relationship between the concept of social equity and the civil rights movement, and examined the land-use reactions of community organizations to vacant land in Detroit.

She is the recipient of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning 1999 Paul Davidoff Award for her book Redevelopment and Race. She previously was a professor at Michigan State University, where she developed statewide initiatives to link urban planning services on campus with community development needs in Michigan cities. She and her husband are active members of the Bahá'í Faith, a belief system which has fueled their professional interests in promoting racial and international unity.

Thomas holds a BA in sociology (Magna cum laude) from Michigan State University and a PhD in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan.


Image courtesy of June Manning Thomas