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Patrick Cooper-McCann

Current Student—Ph.D in Urban and Regional Planning

Patrick Cooper-McCann

Dissertation Committee: Margaret Dewar (chair), June Manning Thomas, Scott Campbell, and David Thacher (cognate)

Areas of Interest: urban governance, urban politics, community development, shrinking cities, urban history, planning history, Detroit

Dissertation Research:

Cities everywhere seem to be turning to alternative arrangements to provide municipal services and facilities.  These arrangements include self-provisioning, philanthropy, contracting out, privatization, and regional and state takeovers, together constituting a form of governance beyond the local state.  In my dissertation, I investigate to what extent this is true and whether the coordinated use of these arrangements represents a viable strategy for strengthening the public realm.  I do so through a detailed study of one extreme case: park provision in Detroit.  In the first part of the study, I analyze the institutional structure of park provision, investigating how the provision of parks in Detroit has changed over time and why. In the second part of the study, I evaluate contemporary arrangements to provide parks, analyzing who is benefiting and who is losing from the way parks are provided in Detroit today.  I use my findings to make policy recommendations on how best to structure the provision of public services and facilities to strengthen the public realm, especially in distressed cities like Detroit.


  • Dewar, Margaret, Matthew Weber, Eric Seymour, Meagan Elliott, & Patrick Cooper-McCann. Forthcoming 2015. “Learning from Detroit: How Research on a Declining City Enriches Urban Studies.” In Michael Peter Smith and L. Owen Kirkpatrick (Eds.), Reinventing Detroit. (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers).
  • Cooper-McCann, Patrick. 2014. “A Review of ‘Collaborative Governance for Urban Revitalization: Lessons from Empowerment Zones.’” Journal of the American Planning Association. 80(3): 279. DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2014.972224.
  • Cooper-McCann, Patrick. (2013). Urban Triage in Cleveland and St. Louis (Master's thesis).

Conference Presentations:

  • Roundtable Participant. “Emerging Models of Resilient Regeneration Sponsored by the Vacant Property Research Network.” ACSP 2014. Philadelphia, PA. November 1, 2014.
  • “Putting Equity Back Into Shrinking Cities Planning.” BANKRUPT: Economic Crisis and the Built Environment. University of Michigan. April 6, 2014.
  • "Urban Triage in St. Louis." 15th National Conference on Planning History. Toronto. October 5, 2013.


  • Vacant Property Research Network Conference Travel Grant, 2014
  • Rackham Conference Travel Grant, 2014
  • Nonprofit & Public Management Center Doctoral Support Grant, 2014
  • Vacant Property Research Network Masters Scholarship Award, 2014
  • Rackham Centennial Fellowship Award, 2013
  • Rackham Conference Travel Grant, 2013
  • Rackham Student Research Grant, 2013

For my full CV, please see http://patrickcoopermccann.com/cv/.