Taubman College

The Planning Program

The Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning educates students to be change-oriented leaders in the planning profession and academy; conducts research informed by a commitment to improve the fairness, prosperity, and environmental and social sustainability of neighborhoods, cities, regions, and mega-regions; and serves the academic and broader communities in ways that harness the skills and commitments of its faculty, students, and staff.

Urban and regional planning is the profession that strives to improve the environmental quality, economic vitality, and social equity of places: neighborhoods, towns, cities, metropolitan areas, and larger regions. Planners seek to improve alternatives to sprawling, auto-dependent areas; to revitalize downtowns and inner-city neighborhoods; to develop cities and towns in a manner that protects the environment; to create lively, interesting neighborhoods and commercial areas; and to foster sustainable development in the world's poorest countries. Planning is a systematic, creative approach to addressing social, physical, and economic problems. Planners identify problems and opportunities, devise alternative policies, analyze and implementing these options, and evaluate implemented plans. They study the interconnections between the various forces that shape places and the quality of life in them and develop policies around these interconnections: transportation and land use; economic development and housing; physical planning and environmental quality.

The mission and goals of the faculty of the Urban and Regional Planning Program at Michigan are to teach students, engage research, and provide public service in ways that shape place-based policy and design for social and racial equity, promote regionalist solutions to metropolitan problems, advance just and effective remedies for urban decline, and facilitate the creation of human settlements that offer alternatives to environmentally consumptive land-development patterns. In teaching, our faculty strive for a productive balance between theory and practice, between classroom-based and hands-on learning, and between a well-founded core and in-depth specializations. We foster ongoing research, teaching, and service interchange with other units in Taubman College and the University of Michigan; within our region, and the City of Detroit in particular; and worldwide.

Michigan's Urban and Regional Planning Program graduates are found throughout the public, private, and non-profit sectors. They work in community development corporations, planning consulting firms, metropolitan planning organizations, international development organizations, advocacy groups, municipal government, educational institutions, environmental agencies, land trusts, real-estate development firms, transit agencies, non-profit think tanks, downtown development organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, and more. Common to their work in all these settings is a concern for the quality of life in places and a professional commitment to improving both human settlements and the public and private processes that shape their development.

Richard K. Norton
Associate Professor and Chair