Ten planning lessons from the home of the Big House

Source: annarborusa.org

Source: annarborusa.org

Below is my list of ten planning lessons from many years of visiting Ann Arbor and having lived just outside this great city for five years back in the mid-1990s. Enjoy!

  • Town and gown can successfully co-exist.
  • College towns/cities are amazing incubators of new and untested ideas, including in the field of planning.
  • Even cities that have progressive and sustainable planning programs can become surrounded by sprout-burbs when they cannot control their surroundings.
  • A downtown college campus is a boon to center city businesses when a variety of student housing options (dorms, rentals, condos) are made available.
  • A secondary campus is not necessarily a good thing when it is designed to be overly reliant on motor vehicles.
  • An active, fun, and vibrant downtown street scene can withstand much of winter’s brute.
Source: mainstreetannarbor.org

Source: mainstreetannarbor.org

  • Even a collegiate city with strict rental housing codes can end up with chopped-up residential dwellings.
  • A fine selection of world-class cuisines, entertainment, and fine arts are available in communities other than Chicago throughout the Midwest – if you flyover us, then you will miss out on the fun!
  • There are many great benefits to a community from having national and international name recognition – like watching a soccer match between two amazing Champion’s League teams (Man U and Real Madrid) with nearly 110,000 of you closest friends!
  • Even the beloved hometown team’s logo (at the north end of the Big House) can be a bit much when it’s enormous, sits on a hill, and overpowers adjacent residential neighborhoods (no nasty comments please, as I have two sons who attend/ed U of M).
Source: annarbor.com

Source: annarbor.com


This entry was posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, architecture, art, branding, Cars, cities, civics, colleges, commerce, culture, diversity, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, education, entertainment, entrepreneurship, environment, geography, government, historic preservation, Housing, infrastructure, land use, North America, placemaking, planning, politics, spatial design, sports, sprawl, sustainability, third places, tourism, transit, transportation, Travel, urban planning, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ten planning lessons from the home of the Big House

  1. Syd Chan says:

    My former coworker in New York City always said that Ann Arbor is home to her favorite Ethiopian restaurant!


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