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Joshua Akers

Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban and Regional Studies at the UM-Dearborn

Dr. Akers is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His research and writing examines the intersection of markets and policy and their material impacts on urban neighborhoods and everyday life.  He is particularly interested in the transition of property markets in the wake of the financial crisis, the exploitative practices that emerged, and their impact on low income urban residents and communities of color. 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 was appointed to the City of Detroit Mayor’s Open Data Advisory Commission in 2016 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.

Ph.D. University of Toronto; B.A. The University of New Mexico


Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility

The Partnership on Economic Mobility between Poverty Solutions and the City of Detroit is a joint effort to identify and implement concrete, evidence-based strategies that significantly improve economic opportunity and reduce poverty in Detroit.

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Faculty Projects

  • Systems and structures of poverty – the profit of debt The project: Household debt has been on the rise in the U.S. for the past three decades. These debts accrue in a variety of ways from attempting to climb the ladder of opportunity (student loans), seeking stability for one’s family (housing), making ends meet when money is tight (credit cards), getting sick or injured (health […]