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.
- 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).