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Paul Fontaine

Lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning

Paul Fontaine is a lecturer in urban planning at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He also serves as the program manager for Taubman College’s Michigan Engaging Community through the Classroom (MECC) Initiative. Fontaine’s research and professional practice focus on civic and professional engagement in the urban revitalization process. His recent studios for MECC include revitalization strategies for the former GM Powertrain plant and surrounding neighborhoods in Ypsilanti Township (Michigan), urban design implementation phasing plans for various Detroit neighborhoods, and a re¬population plan for Detroit’s Osborn Neighborhood. U-M students from public policy, public health, engineering, law, social work, and architecture participate in the studios as part of creating a multidisciplinary learning experience. 

A founding member of Fontaine Urban Design, which specializes in complex brownfield and infill sites that require public and private partnerships, Fontaine’s projects range from the urban design of a new hospital, to a mixed-use residential community on a Big Ten campus, to the redevelopment of a 20-acre brownfield site in a small Western Michigan community. His design awards include the National American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award for Detroit’s Belle Isle Master Plan and Michigan Builder’s 2012 Community of the Year. Fontaine also has served on four American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Advisory Teams in communities throughout the United States, is a current member of Ann Arbor’s Design Review Board, and helped FEMA post-Katrina with community outreach efforts.

Prior to joining Taubman College, Fontaine taught community engagement studios at Lawrence Technological University in Detroit, Pontiac, and Hamtramck, Michigan, and was a principal level urban designer at SmithGroup JJR. 

He received his Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Columbia University.