María Arquero de Alarcón is currently an Associate Professor in Architecture and Urban Planning and Design, as well as the Director of the Master of Urban Design program at Taubman College, the University of Michigan. Her research, teaching and practice focus on the design, representation and use of public space both as environmental infrastructure, and as a field of experimentation to devise new forms of civic engagement. Her recent work in the city of Detroit and surrounding region interrogates the agency of the design and planning disciplines in territories under dynamics of urban contraction and sustained population loss. Other current academic collaborations look at the visualization of water dynamics in the Great Lakes region as a vehicle to better inform land use decisions. This line of research articulates the role of visual representation as a mode of inquiry and spatial thinking, a platform to enable design synthesis across geographies, scales and disciplinary cultures.
Arquero de Alarcón is a founding partner, with Jen Maigret, of MAde-Studio, a research-based design practice focused on the development of environmentally and culturally sound urban design practices. She brings to this partnership her experience in professional practice both through interdisciplinary collaborations and as an independent consultant in international settings in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East. In 2013, MAde has been recognized with an ACSA Faculty Design Award (Liquid Planning Detroit) for their speculative work contributing to debates of green infrastructure in Detroit, and two AIA Michigan Design Awards (A Dozen Playgrounds and Eastside Recreation Center) re-centering the role of elementary public school grounds and recreation centers as neighborhoods' cores in the urban stabilization efforts in the region.
Arquero de Alarcón is a member of the Metropolitan Futures Group (MFG), a design research collective in Taubman College. Arquero de Alarcón has been a visiting professor in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and has taught and lectured in different design schools, including Boston Architectural College, Dalhousie University, GSD Harvard University, Universidad de Talca, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Rio de Janeiro. Her work and research have been presented in peer reviewed academic conferences and published in different platforms, including PLOT, UHF, and an essay in a forthcoming volume on the evolving land use patterns in Detroit, from Wayne State University Press. Arquero de Alarcón holds degrees in Architecture, from the E.T.S.A.M., Polytechnic University, a master of Advanced Studies in Landscape Architecture from the E.T.H. Zurich, and a master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design from the G.S.D., Harvard University.