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Harley Etienne

Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

Harley Etienne is an associate professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He teaches in the areas of urban community development, inner-city revitalization, neighborhood change, urban poverty, and qualitative research issues in planning. Etienne’s research focuses primarily on the intersection of social institutions and their relationship to processes of urban neighborhood change. He is keenly interested in the role that colleges and universities play in contributing to neighborhood-level change and regional economic development. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he worked on several projects examining the role of land tenure policy and land rights in the post-earthquake recovery of Port-au-Prince.

Etienne’s current projects include quantitative and qualitative studies of the adaptation and survival strategies of community development corporations in Baltimore, Cleveland, and Detroit. He also is expanding on his work in West Philadelphia with studies that evaluate the long-term impact of college students on housing affordability and displacement in college and university-adjacent neighborhoods.

In 2014, Etienne co-edited Planning Atlanta (Routledge), which surveys the history, challenges, and successes of planning in that city from its earliest beginnings to the present day. In 2012, he published Pushing Back the Gates: Neighborhood Perspectives on University-Driven Change in West Philadelphia (Temple University Press).

Prior to pursuing a PhD, Etienne worked in Philadelphia in the public policy and economic development sectors for Greater Philadelphia First (now merged with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce), the Pennsylvania Economy League, and the 21st Century League, where he focused on policy issues including university-industry partnerships, K-12 school reform, health care access, and welfare policy. Before joining Taubman College, Etienne taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of City and Regional Planning and the School of Public Policy. 

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Morehouse College, a Master of Arts in urban studies from Temple University, and a PhD in city and regional planning from Cornell University.


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