Michael is Honorary Professor at the University of Liverpool and Ambassador for its Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place. He was made Commander of the British Empire for services to urban regeneration in 2007 and Citizen of Honour of Liverpool in 2016. He received his BA (Hons) from the University of Liverpool in 1965, his MA Economics (with Distinction) from the University of Manchester in 1968 and his Ph.D. from Liverpool John Moores University in 2002. He was a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Liverpool 1970-1992; Professor of Political Science 1972-3 and Director of the Urban Studies Programme 1976-79 at Washington University in St Louis. He was Director of The European Institute for Urban Affairs 1992-2013 at Liverpool John Moores University and Adviser to its Vice-Chancellor 2012-2013. At the University of Liverpool, he was Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor 2013-14 and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Civic Engagement 2014-2020.
Michael has acted as adviser on urban affairs to UN Habitat, the European Commission, the European Parliament, OECD, EUROCITIES, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the National Audit Office, the House of Commons Select Committees, the Core Cities, and a range of cities in the UK and Europe. He has held board positions in many local, national and international organisations. He most recently served as a Board member of the Prime Minister’s Regeneration Investment Organisation and of the Special Olympics Great Britain 2021 and Trustee of the Centre for Cities and Alternative Futures Group. He is currently a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Board on Liverpool’s World Heritage Status, a member of the Liverpool Brand Committee and Special Adviser to Procure Plus Group.
Michael has directed a wide range of European and national research programmes and projects. He was Scientific Director of the European Audit for the European Commission, 1998-2000; Director of the ESRC’s Research Programme on ‘CITIES: Cohesion and Competitiveness’ 2001-4; Director of a European Commission COMPETE project 2004-6; Director of the State of English Cities research programme 2004-6 for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as well as of its Expert Panel on Neighbourhoods, Cities and Regions 2007-10. He was Director of the Northern Way research programme 2010-11, of a European Commission ESPON Project 2010-13 and of an ESRC project on city regions 2012-14. He is a regular reviewer for major research funding organisations and academic journals and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal. He lectures extensively nationally and internationally and is a regular contributor to the media.
Michael has published over 100 books, articles and major reports and generated over £8m in research funds to assess the development of cities, urban policy and regeneration in the UK and Europe. He wrote ‘Liverpool on the Brink’ in 1985. His career has been partly devoted to showing how much the city has changed since then - for the better! He published the sequel ‘Liverpool Beyond the Brink: The Remaking of a Post Imperial City’ in 2019.