↑ top

Dean's Message

Robert Fishman, Professor of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning, serves as interim dean, as of January 1, 2016. View details about Dean Search

It is my distinct honor to serve as the interim dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.  As a world-class center of architecture and planning education, Taubman College aspires to be a leader in interdisciplinary education and research to create a more productive, beautiful and inclusive built environment for generations to come. 

Our architecture, urban design, and urban planning students benefit from the research and scholarship of our award-winning faculty; our renowned digital fabrication lab; and soon our new state-of-the-art A. Alfred Taubman Wing, opening in fall 2017, with new space for our students and faculty to meet and study.  But as we work to truly develop a deep and creative awareness of the built environment and enhance our ability to imagine alternatives in an effort to create a more equitable and sustainable world, we must go beyond just the faculty and the facilities.  We must converse, debate, discuss, and imagine new possibilities for challenges we face. 

Colleges of architecture and planning are in the unique and enviable position of convening the large and sometimes challenging conversations around the built environment.  At Taubman College we have a diverse faculty whose research interests and expertise provide a variety of options for approaching today’s societal concerns.  Combined with a robust lecture series that brings in guest speakers from all over the world, our students and faculty come together on a regular basis to build community through shared intellectual exchange – we learn from experts, reflect on our own experiences, and debate the merits of the various options and ideas presented.

This fall we will engage in dialogue around the speculative projects our faculty exhibited at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.  The exhibition entitled The Architectural Imagination is focused on Detroit, a city that challenges all our hopes and fears for what a city is and what it might become.  We will discuss the theoretical issues behind the method of using idealized design interventions to trigger positive change as well as the role of art and architecture in revitalization efforts. 

We will then turn our attention toward issues of social justice, infrastructure, and urban planning as we discuss Flint’s water crisis and the progress that has been made to date by the work of urban planners and public health officials, as well as what can be learned for other older cities across the United States.  We will also analyze Michigan’s upcoming historical regional transit ballot initiative – the first of its kind in the state of Michigan – created in an attempt to allow regional citizens, and especially those most disadvantaged without personal transportation, to better live, work and thrive.

In late October, as the proud host of the 2016 Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) Conference, “Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines,” Taubman College will engage in dialogue with leaders across the country around the intersections of procedural design, designed environments, and autonomous machines.

As one of the leading research institutions in the world, we are called to critically examine, question, define and create solutions for future generations. We are pleased to welcome you to the conversation.

Robert Fishman
Taubman College Interim Dean
Professor of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning