Leadership Change Could Lead to Changes in Suburban Oakland County, Michigan

The suburban status quo is due for an update in Michigan's wealthiest county, and a new county executive is ready to lead the county in a new direction.

1 minute read

December 26, 2019, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Amy Crawford reports on a potential planning sea change in Oakland County, Michigan, a "most stubbornly suburban suburb."

Changes are coming, according to Crawford, after longtime County Executive Brooks Patterson left the job, succeeded by David Coulter, mayor of the inner-ring suburb of Ferndale.

Coulter is not only the first Democrat but also the first openly gay person to hold the office of Oakland county executive. And while he’s far from a ban-all-cars radical, he does see sprawl very differently from Patterson, who defended highway expansion, opposed regional planning, and resisted asking exurban communities to help fund transit projects. This changing of the guard could be the first step toward a different Oakland County, and a sign that even the most stubbornly suburban of suburbs can adapt to a more dense and urban future.

The article includes numerous soundbites from Coulter provided by an interview with CityLab, and speculation about the numerous avenues of urbanism the county could take under new leadership.

Monday, December 16, 2019 in CityLab

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