SGD Colloquium-Dr. Joshua Akers


Fri, 09/21/2018 - 15:30

Property in Practice: Contesting Economies of Displacement and Dispossession

Dr. Joshua Akers
Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban and Regional Studies
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Abstract: This talk examines changes in low income housing markets in US cities following the financial crisis with particular focus on Detroit. It follows chains of ownership from mortgage and tax foreclosure to the predatory practices of speculative owners and the subsequent rise in evictions. It argues that eviction, an ever present threat for the poor, has become an essential tool of expropriation in the slum empires that emerged from the crisis. It then turns to the work of mutual aid organizations like Detroit Eviction Defense and the reemergence of ACORN in domestic housing struggles and the role of the Urban Praxis Workshop, a research collective, in developing data and strategy maps to resist displacement and dispossession. 

Biography: Dr. Akers's research and writing examines the intersection of markets and policy and their material impacts on urban neighborhoods and everyday life. He works directly with organizations and activists in Detroit focused on housing and tenancy issues and developed a web mapping tool to assist communities working to slow speculation and its affects on local neighborhoods. This work may be found at It is part of the Urban Praxis Workshop, which he also directs. Akers serves on the City of Detroit's Open Data Advisory Commission and sits on other boards that advise non-profits, and foundations in Detroit on issues of community engagement, technology and open data. He is a contributing editor for Metropolitics, a journal of public scholarship.

ENR2 Building, Room S107
Friday, September 21st at 3:30pm
Refreshments starting at 3:00pm


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