Jonathan Massey

Dr. Jonathan Massey is a teacher, author, architect, and historian. Dr. Massey’s research examines how the built environment has the ability to impact social, political and economic structures.

Dr. Massey recently became Dean at University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He previously served as the Dean of Architecture at California College of the Arts, with additional teaching experience at Syracuse University, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and other leading universities.

Known for his progressive approach to architectural education, Massey encourages students to question how architecture can address topics such as economic mobility, technological innovation, consumption, etc. Also high among Dr. Massey’s priorities is confronting the high barriers to entry that exist at design school, especially for women and communities of color. He advocates ideas like the ‘open loop university’, a model in which students are able to continuously learn while also participating in the workforce. Similarly, he supports teaching design at a high-school level, especially in communities of color, in order to foster a collective belief that design can be a viable career path and a powerful tool for change. Dr. Massey’s instructional methods suggest a shift from conventional theory-based learning to a more experimental, hands-on approach, while continuing to prepare future architects for the professional environment.

In addition to his position at the University of Michigan, Massey is also co-founder of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, a group dedicated to the advancement of research in architectural history and theory. Massey also edits the Aggregate website, which publishes various architectural writings and research. Through a process of transparent and blind peer-review, the website supplies the public with vetted sources on valuable design and architectural conversations.

Massey believes it is important for designers and non-designers alike to be aware of the power of the built environment to impact human reactions that occur in these spaces.

Our hosts, Eric Cesal and Karen Kubey, had a chance to speak with Dr. Massey on Social Design Insights, where they discussed how our schools of design could be reformed.

And don’t forget to check out Jonathan’s recommendations for further study!

An educator of profound personal influence: Edward Soja of UCLA

A book you should be reading now: The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit by Andrew Herscher

Educators you should be following: Peggy Deamer of the Architecture Lobby and Rosa Sheng of Equity by Design

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