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John Cooper, PhD

Senior Fellow

Durham, NC

John focuses on community development, environmental justice, dispute resolution, public policy research, emergency management, and land use planning. He is an associate professor of practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A&M University and serves a dual appointment as the associate director of Outreach and Community Partnerships for Housing and Urban Development and the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. 

In his previous position as MDC program director, John managed the FEMA Emergency Preparedness Demonstration Program, a $2.5 million effort to understand barriers to increased disaster awareness and preparedness in marginalized communities, and managed MDC’s role in the Rural People, Rural Policy initiative. 

John has provided consultation to community development advocates on issues of planning and civic engagement, and been a visiting lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC). He is a past member of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s Advisory Panel and currently serves on a number of boards including The Community Home Trust (Chapel Hill, NC) Board of Directors, the Board of Visitors for the UNC Institute for the Environment, and the Advisory Board for the DHS Center of Excellence – Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management (DIEM) at UNC. 

John received his bachelor’s degree in economics and urban planning from Texas A & M University and a doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.