Graham Sustainability Institute

Liquid Designs for Detroit: The Cut and The Moor

September 2013

A description of Liquid Planning  - a collaborative teaching initiative that develops methods of trans-disciplinary practice in the Taubman College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Michigan.

The development of collaborative, cross-disciplinary, pedagogical frameworks is an institutional priority at the University of Michigan that promises innovative advances in research at the intersection of ecological and urban dynamics. The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is well poised to foster models of scholarship and teaching, particularly those that can contribute to a better understanding of the relationships between environmental processes and the design of our built environment. Initiated in Fall 2011, Liquid Planning, a three-credit advanced graduate seminar course, enrolls students from architecture, environmental planning and policy, landscape architecture, sustainable systems, urban design, and urban planning to bring a wide range of expertise to the classroom around a shared urban challenge involving urban stormwater management.

Liquid Planning is a collaborative teaching initiative that develops methods of trans-disciplinary practice. In particular, the course explores approaches to sustainable design and revitalization through an investigation into the common mis-registration between urban infrastructure and natural water systems. Because water is a critical component in an understanding of past and present conditions and future paradigms for metropolitan regions, Liquid Planning utilizes watershed thinking to foster approaches that bridge scales, work within temporally dynamic systems, and establish processes that transcend established administrative boundaries. In these ways, Liquid Planning recognizes the importance of design disciplines in the innovation of more sustainable construction practices.