UMass Boston

Michael Johnson

Public Policy & Public Affairs
Grad Prog Dir/Professor
McCormack Hall Floor 03

Areas of Expertise

Management science planning models for public-sector facility location and service delivery, with applications to assisted housing and senior services


PhD, Northwestern University, Operations Research
MS, University of California, Berkeley, Operations Research
MS, Georgia Institute of Technology, Electrical Engineering
BA, Morehouse College, Mathematics and French

Additional Information

Professor Johnson’s research interests lie primarily in decision models and decision support systems to improve operations and strategy design of nonprofit organizations and government agencies. His primary application areas are affordable and subsidized housing, community development and public services. His research goal is to develop quantitative methods that enable public-serving organizations to serve disadvantaged and vulnerable populations in ways that jointly optimize economic efficiency, beneficial population outcomes, and social equity.

Dr. Johnson has published widely in academic journals of decision science, decision support systems, urban planning, and housing policy. He is lead co-editor of a special issue of European Journal of Operational Research titled “Community Operational Research: Innovations, Internationalization and Agenda-Setting Applications” (Elsevier, 2018, ISSN 0377-2217). His lead-authored book, Decision Science for Housing and Community Development: Localized and Evidence‐Based Responses to Distressed Housing and Blighted Communities, (Wiley, 2016, ISBN 978-1-118-97499-5) is the product of an interdisciplinary collaboration across the University of Massachusetts system with support from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Johnson is editor of Community-Based Operations Research: Decision Modeling for Local Impact and Diverse Populations (Springer, 2012, 978-1-4614-0805-5).

Dr. Johnson’s teaching expertise includes geographic information systems; research methods in public policy; urban housing policy and community development, and analytic methods for professionals in urban planning and public administration. His community and professional service supports and is nurtured by his commitment to research and teaching. He has served on the board of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and is currently chair of the INFORMS Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Johnson is co-chair of the planning team of the Boston node of the Urban Research-Based Action Network (URBAN.Boston) and president of the Boston chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA-Boston).

Professor Johnson has earned post-doctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation CAREER Program, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Urban Scholars Program, and National Consortium on Violence Research. Professor Johnson has earned post-doc fellowships from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Urban Scholars Program and the National Consortium on Violence Research.

Teaching in the Public Policy PhD Program:

Research Methods II
Geographic Information Systems for Public Policy
Practicum I/II
Dissertation Seminar
Urban Housing Policy
Community-Based Operations Research

Teaching in the Public Administration Program:

Analytical Skills for Policy Analysis I

Teaching in the Urban Planning and Community Development Program

Quantitative Analytic Methods for Urban Planning & Community Development

For more information on his research and publications, please visit Michael Johnson's Scholarworks page.