Michael Hooper is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). He joined Harvard after working for several years with the United Nations Development Programme, including a year posted to the Kenya Ministry of Planning in Nairobi. Hooper’s research focuses on the politics of housing, land use and urbanization with particular interest in three related themes: displacement and shelter insecurity, disaster planning and rebuilding, and the politics of spatial transformation. Past research projects have addressed, among other topics, forced displacement in East Africa, post-disaster reconstruction in Haiti, the dynamics of rapid urbanization in Mongolia, and the risks faced by unsheltered residents of Cambridge, MA, from insect-borne illnesses. At the GSD, Hooper leads the Urban Planning and Design thesis program and, from 2011-2017, served as Director of the Social Agency Lab, one of the school’s research incubation laboratories.
Professor Hooper began university at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei and received undergraduate and master’s degrees from McGill University and MIT. He completed his PhD at Stanford University, where he conducted research on forced evictions and resettlement in Tanzania. He has been a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford and the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. Professionally, he is a certified planner in the United States, a registered professional planner in Canada and a chartered town planner in the United Kingdom. He has received a number of awards and fellowships, including a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Graham Family, Robert Kirby and Richard Goldsmith Fellowships from Stanford University. He received the urban planning and design teaching award from GSD students in 2011, 2013 and 2014.