Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning celebrates retirement of Professor Robin Boyle

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning celebrated the retirement of Professor Robin Boyle after 27 years of service to the University with a party on May 16th at the Common Pub.

Professor Boyle has had a long and distinguished career as an academician. He established himself as a leading researcher in urban economic development in post-industrial cities. He has published several books, book chapters, and papers in this area. His approach to this topic has been broad, covering areas as diverse as aging-in-place, brownfields, and the new maker-economy on the one hand and their linkages to economic development on the other hand. His most recent work on the maker-economy has helped shaped this field, influencing how this subject is taught to students nationally.

Professor Boyle began his career as a research associate and then lecturer at the University of Strathclyde in 1974, where gained tenure in 1978. He eventually became the head of the department in 1988. Professor Boyle joined Wayne State University in 1991 as chair of the then called Department of Geography and Urban Planning. He later became associate dean of the College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs in 1994 and served in that position until 2005. At that point, he resumed Chair responsibilities. He held this position until 2014. At his initiative, the department was renamed Urban Studies and Planning in 2009. He also held several visiting positions at universities worldwide.

During Professor Boyle's stewardship of the department, he oversaw many changes including successful hires and the evolution of the professional Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) program through many iterations to keep up with the changing demands of the profession. He successfully guided the program through several reaccreditations with the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). For many decades, this was the flagship program of the department. The M.U.P. program now shares this distinction with the major in urban studies, a program brought to fruition in 2007 by Professor Boyle during a period when such interdisciplinary programs were shunned by the university. He was himself a site visitor for PAB to many Planning departments across North America.

Professor Boyle is an icon in planning circles in Southeast Michigan. He has been sitting on the Birmingham Planning Board since 2014 (chair of the board between 2004 and 2016). He has also been an active member of the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute. He is part of numerous other initiatives, including being an early organizer of the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program and currently sitting on the board of the Greening of Detroit.

He is likely to continue to play an outsize role in planning circles in Southeast Michigan after his retirement.

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