Faculty Profile

Joe Grengs, PhD, AICP, PE

Chair and Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning

University of Michigan
Urban and Regional Planning
2150 Art and Architecture Building
2000 Bonisteel Boulevard
Ann Arbor MI 48109-2069

Office: (734) 763-1114
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Profile at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Profile at Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research

Urban Planning Faculty

Professional Summary

My research focuses on transportation planning and how metropolitan land-use patterns contribute to uneven economic development and social disparities. My work argues for improving transportation systems by shifting from mobility to accessibility as the primary criterion by which transportation policy is evaluated. I focus on showing how the concept of accessibility offers a more effective evaluation tool for advancing social justice than current planning practices, developing methods for making intermetropolitan comparisons of accessibility to offer a basis for advancing policy reform, and explaining how accessibility is experienced differently by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and income. I am a certified planner and a registered professional engineer with work experience in both the private and public sectors and in international settings.


Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
MURP, Master of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology

Summary of Teaching Interests and Experience

Transportation policy, urban spatial development patterns, urban poverty, spatial analysis and geographic information systems, environmental justice, community development

Courses Taught: Quantitative Methods in Planning; Urban and Regional Theory; Metropolitan Structure; Public Policy and Transportation; Introduction to Geographic Information Systems; Advanced Geographic Information Systems; Expanded Horizons Field Experience

Selected Publications

Lowe, Kate, and Joe Grengs. (2018). Private Donations for Public Transit: The Equity Implications of Detroit’s Public-Private Streetcar. Forthcoming in Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Grengs, Joe. (2015). Nonwork Accessibility as a Social Equity Indicator. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 9(1), 1-14.

Levine, Jonathan, Grengs, Joe, Qingyun Shen, and Qing Shen. (2012). Does Accessibility Require Density or Speed? A Comparison of Fast Versus Close in Getting Where You Want to Go in U.S. Metropolitan Regions. Journal of the American Planning Association, 78(2), 157-172.

Grengs, Joe. (2010). Job Accessibility and the Modal Mismatch in Detroit. Journal of Transport Geography, 18, 42-54.

Grengs, Joe, Jonathan Levine, Qing Shen, and Qingyun Shen. (2010). Intermetropolitan Comparison of Transportation Accessibility: Sorting Out Mobility and Proximity in San Francisco and Washington, DC. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(4), 427-443.

Grengs, Joe, Xiaoguang Wang, and Lidia Kostyniuk. (2008). Using GPS Data to Understand Driving Behavior. Journal of Urban Technology, 15(2), 33-53.

Grengs, Joe. (2007). Reevaluating Poverty Concentration with Spatial Analysis: Detroit in the 1990s. Urban Geography, 28(4), 340-360.

Grengs, Joe. (2005). The Abandoned Social Goals of Public Transit in the Neoliberal City of the USA. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 9(1), 51-66.

Grengs, Joe (2002). Community-Based Planning as a Source of Political Change: The Transit Equity Movement of Los Angeles' Bus Riders Union. Journal of the American Planning Association, 68(2), 165-178.

Professional Affiliations

Certified Planner, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
Professional Engineer (P.E.) License (State of Minnesota)
Planners Network
Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
American Planning Association
Michigan Association of Planning