Why Planning in Ann Arbor?
Ann Arbor, Michigan is a phenomenal place to study urban planning. A city with progressive urban planning efforts, Ann Arbor has been called the sixth borough, the 21st arrondissement, the second Loop, and the seventh Zone. Explore this page to discover why Ann Arbor is the #6 best city to live in America (niche.com)!
Ann Arbor offers many opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy outdoor activities. These include food, transportation, Great Lakes living, and natural areas.
Michigan is second only to California in its agricultural diversity. With an active local food scene, students can access farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture, locally sourced food stores (see Argus Food Stop), and the People’s Food Coop.
As a smaller city, it’s easy to bike or take the bus. For moving between Central and North Campus, University of Michigan Blue Buses run every 10 minutes. With a student card, you can ride the city buses for free. Zip cars can be rented should longer trips be needed. You can also easily go between Ann Arbor and Detroit through the D2A2 express bus service.
Great Lakes Living
Michigan is the Great Lakes State. Together these lakes contain 18% of the world’s freshwater supply and as a community, we take our role as stewards of this resource seriously. Ann Arbor is located in the Huron River watershed. Residents can enjoy the recreational opportunities of the Huron River, such as kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and fishing. Ann Arbor is just a drive away from popular hotspots like Traverse City and Painted Rocks National Lakeshore.
In addition to taking in Ann Arbor's abundant recreational outdoor spaces, every University of Michigan student should take a trip north to see Michigan’s natural beauty. Whether a trip to see the Kirkland’s Warbler or the Pileated Woodpecker, or to climb Sleeping Bear Dunes, the state’s scenic beauty is not to be missed.
Our city champions many progressive planning efforts and planning students often engage in city activities. In the 1960s, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Berkeley, California, were the two centers for student activism around civil rights, the environmental movement, and protests against the Vietnam War in the United States. The powerful organization, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), started in Ann Arbor, and one of its founders continues to be an active participant in city politics. This legacy of activism continues to inspire our fight for social justice and progressive planning efforts.
Cool Projects in Ann Arbor
- A2Zero - Ann Arbor's ambitious carbon neutrality plan. Missy Stults, a Taubman urban planning Ph.D. student, is heading up this effort at the city.
- Solarize - Residential solar initiative.
- The Treeline - An initiative to create an urban trail from downtown to the Huron River. A M.U.R.P. capstone was a catalyst for this plan.
- People-Friendly Streets and Healthy Streets Program - initiatives supported by the new Vision Zero Transportation Plan
- Intelligent Transportation Systems Master Plan
Affordable Housing Initiatives
- City-owned properties for affordable housing
- Downtown affordable housing project
- Veridian @ County Farm
- Washtenaw County Racial Equity Office
About the City of Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County
- Planning Department
- Current City Planning Initiatives
- U-M’s Impact on Ann Arbor
- Washtenaw County: Live/Work/Play
Proximity to Detroit
Cool Things about Ann Arbor
Location, Location, Location
- 45 minutes from Detroit
- 4.5 hours from Chicago
- 4 hours from Toronto
Cool Things about Michigan