University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Profiles of University of Michigan Faculty Experts in State and Local Policy Areas

Professor Robert W. Marans

Research Professor, Institute For Social Research (ISR)

Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Years On UM Faculty/Staff: 27

Faculty website (with link to CV)
Contact Info

In regards to improving communication between academics and policymakers, Professor Marans notes:

"The key is brevity. Because policymakers often do not have time to read long reports, academics must be able to very concisely package the scientific information they want to convey. It would also be useful if more academics became involved in public policy. This involvement can pay off in terms of being more sensitive to the needs of decision-makers and the public. It also provides academics with the opportunity to have their views taken into consideration."


Urban planning and architecture, impact of the physical environment on human behavior and quality of life, program evaluation, survey research, and urban sprawl.


2001 DETROIT AREA STUDY. Professor Marans was appointed to lead the 2001 Detroit Area Study (DAS). The DAS is an annual survey of Southeastern Michigan residents that has been conducted since 1951. Marans planned the DAS, utilizing input from representatives of government, industry and non-profit organizations, and he guided students and professional interviewers in the collection of over 300 face-to-face interviews. He also substantially expanded the study by creating a parallel survey that was distributed to over 4000 people throughout the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan. Respondents were questioned about their quality of community life, such as their satisfaction with public services, their opinions about land use issues, and their attitudes towards the communities where they live. Marans has presented findings from the survey to professional and academic groups across the country and around the world. Professor Marans is planning to work with CLOSUP to produce several policy reports that will summarize the survey results.


Neighborhood and park planning, housing, recreation development, comparative international cities surveys, and the link between the environment and physical health.

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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy