University of Detroit Mercy hosts global conference examining urban areas

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September 25, 2019
DETROIT — Urban planners, designers, philosophers and other academics from around the world will visit Detroit when University of Detroit Mercy hosts “Philosophy of the City,” a global conference that examines cities through a variety of philosophical themes, on Oct. 3-5.
Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Department of Philosophy are sponsoring the conference in partnership with the Philosophy of the City Research Group, which hosts conferences across the world annually. The conference is free and open to the public.
“Philosophy of the City,” now in its seventh year, consists of three keynote events and 58 presentations, featuring speakers from across the world.
The conference starts Oct. 3 at Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus then shifts to Detroit Mercy’s Riverfront Campus Oct. 4-5.
Most of the country lives in or near cities and demographers tell us that on a larger scale the world is becoming increasingly urban,” said David Koukal, professor of Philosophy at Detroit Mercy. “The city is going nowhere. We must seek to understand it.
Philosophy of the City seeks to better understand urban areas by asking questions through philosophical and theoretical frameworks, Koukal said.
The conference will explore a variety of topics and themes from “Housing Ethics” to “Dealing with Traffic and Transportation Problems.” One session features Koukal’s research abstract, titled “Detroit Bike City and the Reconstitution of Community.”
“Detroit and cities like it need philosophy to help negotiate the reinvention of their communities,” Koukal said of his research.
Michael D. Doan (Eastern Michigan University) and Diane Michelfelder (Macalester College) will deliver keynote presentations on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, respectively. Paul B. Thompson (Michigan State University) and Samantha Noll (Washington State University) head a panel discussion on urban food justice on Oct. 5.
Koukal and Noah Resnick, professor and associate dean for Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture, lead the conference as local cohosts. Detroit Mercy’s College of Liberal Arts & Education, School of Law and Pamela Zarkowski, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, are providing additional funding and support for the conference.
Previous Philosophy of the City Research Group host sites include Bogota, Colombia; Porto, Portugal; San Francisco; and New York.
For more information, visit A conference program, which includes detailed information on keynote events and presentations along with locations and times, is available here.

About University of Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest and most comprehensive Catholic university, sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Today's University boasts the heritage of two founding institutions: the University of Detroit, founded in 1877 by the Jesuits, and Mercy College of Detroit, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1941.  The two consolidated as University of Detroit Mercy in 1990. Detroit Mercy offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional academic degrees and programs through seven schools and colleges. Detroit Mercy educates the whole person, focusing on the value of excellent academics, service to the community and a deeper spirituality to prepare graduates to live lives of purpose and conscience. For more information, please visit
Ricky Lindsay, Communications Specialist
(313) 578-0331


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