Paul Fontaine is a lecturer in Urban Planning, as well as Program Manager of the Michigan Engaging Community through the Classroom (MECC) Initiative. His research and professional practice focus is civic and professional engagement in the urban revitalization process. Paul’s recent studios for the MECC Initiative includes revitalization strategies for the former GM Powertrain Plan and surrounding neighborhoods in Ypsilanti Township, urban design implementation phasing plans for West Detroit Downtown, and a repopulation plan for Detroit’s Osborn Neighborhood. Students from Public Policy, Public Health, Engineering, Law, Social Work, and Architecture participated in the studios as part of creating a multidisciplinary learning experience. An emphasis in Paul's interdisciplinary studios is the need to communicate effectively and produce deliverables that are achievable and aligned with community visions.
Paul also is founding member of Fontaine Urban Design that specializes in complex brown field and infill sites requiring public and private partnerships. His projects range in scale and program from the urban design for a new hospital, to a mixeduse residential community on a Big Ten campus, to the redevelopment of a 20acre brownfield site in a small Western Michigan community. Design awards include National ASLA Merit Award for Detroit’s Belle Isle Master Plan and Michigan Builder’s 2012 Community of the Year. Paul has also served on four American Institute of Architect’s Sustainable Design Advisory Teams (SDAT) in communities throughout the US, is a current member of Ann Arbor’s Design Review Board, and helped FEMA post Katrina with community outreach efforts.
Prior to being at University of Michigan, Paul taught community engagement studios at Lawrence Technological University in Detroit, Pontiac, and Hamtramck and was a principal level urban designer at SmithGroup JJR. Paul received his BGS from University of Michigan and MSRUP from Columbia University.