Dr. Vojnovic to discuss Black Cities/White Suburbs at Department Open House

Dr. Vojnovic to discuss Black Cities/White Suburbs at Department Open House

Dr. Igor Vojnovic, MSU Professor will be presenting during the GVSU fall Geography and Sustainable Planning Open House.

Presentation Information:

Black Cities/White Suburbs:

Shaping Michigan’s urban and suburban landscapes of inequity and inequality

Presentation is LIB 100/201 approved!!

Igor Vojnovic

Editor in Chief, Journal of Urban Affairs


Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences / College of Social Sciences

Urban and Regional Planning / School of Planning, Design and Construction

Michigan State University


Michigan cities have been at the forefront of national urban decentralization trends; as evident in not only the scale of suburbanization but also in the rapid disinvestment and decline of their urban cores. From 1970 to 2000, the development of land across Michigan increased ten times faster than population growth. As of 2000, more than 60% of the Michigan population lived in suburbs. And while many cities in the state can be used as examples of excessive suburbanization and rapid central-city decline, it is the dispersion of Detroit, along with the decline of the city, which has captured international attention. The population exodus out of Detroit between 2000 and 2010 has averaged 63 people every day or about 3 people every hour. In addition to the population decline, a clear racial and class imprint has emerged across the region. By 2010, 83% of the City of Detroit residents were black. Across Metropolitan Detroit, in contrast, over 97% of all whites living in Metro resided in the suburbs.

By 2010, a new pattern of urban redevelopment had emerged across large parts of the U.S., with evidence of urban reinvestment, growth, as well as increased ethnic/racial diversity. It is also apparent, however, that as in the case of Metropolitan Detroit, Midwest cities continue to be vulnerable to extreme dispersion coupled with urban disinvestment and decline. Within the context of these trends, this presentation will explore city building processes and the shaping of the built environment across the Detroit region. Dimensions of class, race and local culture are explored in development processes as are the resulting impacts of socioeconomic and racial variables on access to amenities and the natural environment across the region. 



Igor Vojnovic holds appointments in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, College of Social Science and in Urban and Regional Planning, School of Planning, Design and Construction at Michigan State University (MSU). Before coming to MSU, he taught in departments of Public Policy, Urban Planning, Urban Design, and Geography at University of Toronto, Syracuse University, Dalhousie University and Texas A&M University. He has also worked in government and in private consulting firms as an urban policy analyst and planner. His research has been published in journals such as Environment and Planning A, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Ecological Economics, Transportation Research Part D, Journal of Urban Design, Urban Geography, Journal of Urban Affairs, Applied Geography, Health & Place, GIScience and Remote Sensing, and Environmental Conservation. Vojnovic also has been Associate Editor (2010-2015) of the Journal of Urban Affairs and is currently the journal’s Editor in Chief.

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