University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Profiles of University of Michigan Faculty Experts in State and Local Policy Areas

Professor Margaret E. Dewar

Emil Lorch Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Faculty Director, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning

Director, Detroit Community Partnership Center

Years On UM Faculty/Staff: 17

Faculty website (with link to CV)
Contact Info

Regarding links between academics and policymakers, Professor Dewar notes:

"Most research in urban and regional planning begins with a concern about a public problem, so immediately it has a connection with policy although not necessarily with policymakers. I came to urban planning wanting to make a difference in the way cities function, and that means I want my research not just to investigate public problems but to have an effect on them, thus my need to connect with policy makers."


State and local economic development, community development, land use, and housing; urban revitalization; community-university partnerships; community-service learning.


AFTER ABANDONMENT: REMAKING THE CITY. In many Midwestern and northeastern cities, owners have abandoned large amounts of property. Because owners stop paying property taxes, state or local governments sell tax liens to third parties or foreclose on the property and gain ownership. This project investigates what kind of city emerges as abandoned property passes back into private or nonprofit ownership, usually without the notice or intervention of planners or others concerned about the quality of life in neighborhoods. This project examines the outcomes of tax-reverted land disposition in Detroit, Cleveland, and Flint, cities that face similar demand for land but have differed in the extent to which policies for land disposition called for review of future use and incorporated planning.


Professor Dewar's research focuses on urban redevelopment. Her projects investigate political-economic systems that determine reuse of contaminated land in cities; analyze market demand in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty; assess institutional innovations (such as land banks) that may overcome barriers to reuse of land; and develop indicators of incipient revitalization or decline in neighborhoods as tools for intervention.

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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy