Head shot of Michael Emerson
  • Kinder Fellow
  • Provost
  • Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies
  • North Park University

Michael Emerson serves as provost and professor at North Park University in Chicago, where he is charged with creating the nation’s leading city-centered university curriculum. As the former academic director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and professor at Rice University, he remains closely tied with the Kinder Institute. He is also co-founder of the Kinder Institute-sponsored Community Bridges program, linking Rice students with the formal study of cities and internships in local non-profit organizations.

His current research focuses on the types of cities being created in the modern, Western world. This work will be featured in a book, written with Kevin Smiley, to be published by NYU Press in 2017 entitled, Market Cities and People Cities: The Shape of Our Urban Future

Additionally, Emerson works extensively in the study of urban transportation, city design, urban planning and urban stratification. Emerson has conducted the Copenhagen Area Survey, sponsored by the Kinder Institute, for the past two years, and is currently working with the Kinder Institute to create a comparative survey between Houston and Chicago.  

Emerson received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has authored several reports for the Kinder Institute, including co-authoring the oft-cited report finding that Houston is the nation’s most racially diverse metropolitan area. 

He has lectured on urban issues in six countries — China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United States — and in many cities and universities.