The Michigan Advantage
The University of Michigan is one of the great universities of the world. Michigan is a center of learning in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, and the professions (including top nationally-ranked schools in law, medicine, business, education, and engineering) for almost 40,000 students from across the globe. With some $750 million in federal research, it is arguably the nation’s leading research university. On America’s largest university campus, a rich panoply of exhibitions, concerts, lectures, cultural events, and sports (including football played in the country’s largest university stadium) is offered throughout the year. Indeed, to choose among Michigan’s many offerings is typically one of the M.U.D. student’s biggest and most pleasant challenges. With a diverse and international student body, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary associations and friendships are common among students, who become part of Michigan’s alumni body of over 450,000 people, the nation’s largest alumni group; with over 60 countries represented by Taubman College alumni alone. The alumni provide a global network in the professions, academia, government, and the arts and sciences.
M.U.D. students, for whom experiencing cities is an essential part of their education, find Ann Arbor a rich environment.
The University Michigan, contains some of the finest examples of campus design anywhere, from the classic collegiate buildings of its central campus by Albert Kahn, a leading architect of America’s industrial era; York and Sawyer’s Law School, an outstanding example of Collegiate Gothic architecture; and Eero Saarinen’s serenely Modernist Music School on North Campus; to recent additions by Charles Moore, Roche and Dinkeloo, James Stewart Polshek, Maya Lin, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown; and planned projects by Brad Cloepfil, Centerbrook, Robert A. M. Stern, and Renzo Piano. The university’s three contiguous campuses respectively represent 19th-, 20th-, and 21st- century planning paradigms, featuring splendid courtyards and promenades, elegant gardens and parks, and dramatic juxtapositions of historic and cutting-edge design that can be enjoyed, analyzed, and debated.
Ann Arbor, the city surrounding the university, is repeatedly listed among the most livable cities in the United States. Jazz clubs, coffee houses, an international array of restaurants (many affordable), sports bars, cinemas, and concert and recital venues are all within walking distance or a short ride on the university’s bus system from north campus, where Taubman College is located. Combining the character of a small Midwestern city with the university’s cosmopolitanism, Ann Arbor is an increasingly vibrant regional center where people come to walk Victorian streets, browse plentiful bookstores, and sit under the trees in its many outdoor cafes. Parks, the Nichols Arboretum, and the Huron River wind their way through most parts of the city, offering jogging and bicycle paths, swimming, and golf. Given Ann Arbor’s quality, city residents are particularly conscious of planning and environmental issues, recently approving a greenbelt around the town’s perimeter and encouraging higher-density, mixed-used development in the downtown area, where Calthorpe Associates has recently been commissioned by the city to do a planning and zoning study. Development plans are always a town topic, creating an excellent environment for learning about urban design and creating opportunities for the M.U.D. Program to become part of the planning process, as it has done in suggesting concepts for the proposed redevelopment of Lower Town, the connections between downtown and the proposed Greenway, and the build-out of north campus—all of which have influenced public discussion of and action on these important projects.