Message from the Director of Urban Technology

“Technology is the answer, but what was the question?”
—Cedric Price

This comment by Cedric Price, a British architect, captures the importance of what we’re doing with Urban Technology at Taubman College. Technology is too important to be left to computer scientists and engineers. In 2022 it’s clear that digital and networked technologies are not going to disappear from our lives any time soon. Yet a harmonious balance between bricks and clicks is something that will take time and expertise to develop. The questions are many.

Will next generation mobility systems be designed to serve the full diversity of human needs? Will parks and open spaces be managed effectively to provide safe and welcoming meeting grounds for the breadth of society? Will invasive advertising take over city streets like it has your web browser? Will water and power infrastructure crumble before we can build more resilient systems?

Working at the intersection of the physical realm of the built environment and the digital realm of the internet is one of the most important places to focus this century because foundational decisions are being made right now about autonomous vehicles, facial recognition, predictive analytics, and so much more in the context of urban life. This is not merely a challenge of how to build such systems, but what to build in the first place, and why. The work at the intersection of physical cities and digital technologies requires a creative mind and a broad skill set, which is exactly what our program is designed to help you build.

Year one of our unique program begins with a winter semester (January-April ‘23) start, allowing you to take a gap semester for the fall (September-December ‘22) where students travel, work, or volunteer. The first year culminates in our Cities Intensive in Spring semester (May and June ‘23) where you will learn about cities through site visits and meeting with urban leaders, as well as classroom experiences. In year two, you will hone your technical skills in coding and begin your studies in design. During years three and four, you will continue building your expertise as a designer with a strong base of technical understanding.

You will learn in a collaborative, hands-on environment, guided by faculty in architecture, urban planning, and urban technology who bring important perspectives to the classroom. With research across Taubman College touching on topics such as anti-racism, disabilities studies, climate mitigation and adaptation, food security, or urban access and mobility, you will have opportunities to learn from experts as well as get involved in important research.

Our program is designed to be a platform for a variety of city-focused careers. You may work in business, design, research, or a technical field after college, but regardless of where you head after U-M, you will go with cities as your domain, coding as an essential skill, and design as your superpower.

Hope to see you soon at the Art & Architecture building.

Best Regards,

Bryan Boyer
Director of Urban Technology program, Assistant Professor