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Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) Records

Identifier: UR001008

Scope and Content

Part I: The papers in this colleciton are from the office of Mr. Reid and contain information related ot the organization and operations of the DRPC, and the findings of various planning projects and studies conducted by the DRPC and Planning Division of SEMCOG. The first fifteen boxes of this collection contain the files of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Commission (DRPC), which became the Planning Division of SEMCOG in 1968.

Important subjects: Conservation-Environmental Concerns Demographics of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Development of Regional Planning Agencies Economic and Industrial Development in the Detroit Metropolitan Area Housing Land and Water Use Recreational Facilities/Leisure Activities of Residents Urban Planning

Important correspondents: R. J. Alexandra; William S. Broomfield; Jerome P. Cavanagh; John D. Dingell; Charles C. Diggs, Jr.; Martha Griffiths; Philip Hart; Orville Hubbard; Louis C. Miriani; Edmund S. Muski; Patrick V. McNamara; Roy Reuther; George Romney; Mel Ravit; John B. Swainson; G. Mennen Williams.

Series Description: Series 1, DRPC Division Minutes, 1953-1971: Minutes of Detroit Metropolitan Regional Planning Commission (DRPC) committee meetings, including early SEMCOG material. Some agenda, rosters of members and attached reports and correspondence related to meetings.

Series 2, DRPC Division Office Files, 1947-1970: Reports, charts, maps, surveys, correspondence, contracts and related state and national legislation. Contains DRPC organizational information, sometimes on the changeover to SEMCOG and detailed reports and surveys on area planning studies.

Series 3, DRPC Division Correspondence, 1960-1965: Daily files of outgoing correspondence, primarily from Paul M. Reid. Contains information regarding DRPC operations, porjects and planning goals. Some correspondence to prominent legislator and political figures regarding DRPC goals.
Part II: This addition to the SEMCOG papers contains correspondence, memos, reports, meeting minutes, and press releases relating primarily to the administration of the organization and to environmental, transportation, and economic issues.

Important subjects in the collection: Air Quality Metropolitan Fund Economic Development SEMTA Housing Water Quality

Important correspondents in the collection: Amberger, John McNamara, Edward Blanchard, James Milliken, William Glusac, Michael Young, Coleman

Series Description: Series IV, General Subject Files, 1954-83 Series V, Transportation, 1955-85 Series VI, Environment and Recreation, 1955-84 Series VII, Administrative Files, 1955-85
Part III: Part 3 of the SEMCOG Records contain meeting minutes, research, resources, reports, speeches and publications relating to SEMCOG’s work in environment, transportation and urban planning. It also contains correspondence from executive directors John Amberger and Paul Tait, and Executive and Advisory Council minutes from the beginning of SEMCOG in 1967 through 2003. The records of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC) a private-sector sister organization to SEMCOG are also included.

Important Subjects: Educational reform Environmental policy Paratransit services—United States Rouge, River (Mich. : River) Transportation – Planning Unemployment – Michigan Urban planning and environment Water quality management Water quality – Michigan

Series Description: Series I. Environment, 1961-2005 Series II. Transportation, 1984-2001 Series III. Executive Office and Administrative Files, 1965-2006 Series IV. Metropolitan Affairs Corporation (MAC) and Community and Economic Development (CED), 1983-2000 Series V. Audio-Visual & Oversize


  • 1947 - 2006


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The DRPC was established in 1947 by an act of the Michigan State Legislature and received financial support from the state and participating counties. Member counties included Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland, with Monroe County participating from 1955-1961, and Washtenaw County after 1961. The DRPC was directed by an Advisory Commission, whose members were appointed by the governor, and an Executive Committee. The function of the DRPC was the coordination of planning programs in the area. It encouraged and assised local planning programs, collected area planning data and provided a channel through which area planning programs could meet requirements for federal aid programs.

In 1965, a special Transportation and Land Use Study (TALUS) was instituted to develop a comprehensive 1990 regional plan. This branch of the DRPC operated almost as an independent unit. and received separate funding. It was phased out in 1969.

In the mid-1960's, studies were conducted on means by which the various regional planning agencies, primarily the DRPC and another predecessor agency, the Supervisors Inter-County Committee (SICC), could coalesce into one regional agency to avoid duplication of program and services. In 1968, the Southeast Michigan Council of Government (SEMCOG), was created and the DRPC became the Planning Division of that agency.

The operations and programs of the DRPC did not change in any significant manner following the changeover. Paul M. Reid, the Executive Director of the DRPC became the Director of the Planning Division of SEMCOG, and various technical committee continued their assignments.


180.75 Linear Feet (15.5 MB, 172 SB, 1 OS)


SEMCOG grew out of primarily the Detroit Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Commission (DRPC) and the Supervisors Inter-County Committee (SICC) in an effort to consolidate regional planning agencies and avoid duplication of programs and services. SEMCOG has continued its predecessors' work of assisting local planning programs, collecting area planning data, and providing an infrastructure for procurement of federal aid.

Records in Part I document SEMCOG's predecessor, the DRPC, and its transition to and early operation of the Planning Division of SEMCOG, through the office files of Paul Reid, Executive Director at the time of transition. Contained therein are findings of various planning projects and studies conducted by the two entities.

Records in Part II relate primarily to the administration of SEMCOG and the environmental, transportation, and economic issues it dealt with.

Records in Part III related to SEMCOG's work in environment, transportation, and urban planning. Documented are the activities of executive directors John Amberger and Paul Tait, and the Executive and Advisory Council from SEMCOG's inception through 2003. The records of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC) a private-sector sister organization to SEMCOG are also included.


Part I: Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-7), Series 2 (Boxes 8-11), and Series 3 (Boxes 12-15). See specific series for folder arrangement.
Part II: Arranged in 4 series - Series 4 (Boxes 16-51), Series 5 (Boxes 51-65), Series 6 (Boxes 66-85), and Series 7 (Boxes 86-105).

PLEASE NOTE: Folders are computer-arranged alphabetically within each series in part 2 of this finding aid, but may actually be dispersed throughout several boxes in the collection. Note carefully the box number for each folder heading.
Part III: Note, series and boxes restart at #1 in part 3.

Arranged in 5 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-25), Series 2 (Boxes 25-36), Series 3 (Boxes 36-55), Series 4 (Boxes 65-82), and Series 5 (Boxes 83-84). Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.


Part I: The files and records of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and its predecessor agencies were trnasferred to the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in October 1980 by Paul E. Tait, Director of Administrative Services, SEMCOG.


Part II: A few photographs and books have been transferred to the Archives Audiovisual Collection and Library.
Part III: Several audio and videotapes as well as slides have been removed to the Reuther’s Audiovisual department; an inventory is included at the end of the finding aid.

Processing History

Parts I and II processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.

Part III processed and finding aid updated by Kathy Makas in April 2011.
Guide to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA