This work proposes to rethink the ways transit infrastructure can expand access to food, health, learning, and mobility services by creating multimodal hubs—or transit nexuses where existing and new mobility modes converge. At a large scale, these can also include services such as medical clinics, grocery stores, and more. At a smaller scale the team is examining new formats of technology-enabled service delivery coupling private enterprise and nonprofit entities to produce new models of infrastructure.
Estimated Chicago population with extreme lack of access to food, health, and learning
Existing transit nodes serving populations facing extreme in-access
Different scales of prototype have been designed
How might we rethink the design and delivery of New Mobility Hub (NMH) facilities to prioritize the provision of access as an essential dimension of their goals, configuration, design and operation? This seemingly simple concept is at once straightforward, and on the other hand, a radical proposition within the contemporary context of siloed infrastructure, service planning and delivery.
In approaching this question, we work from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives within a complex ‘systems of systems’ approach. New forms of policy regarding the design and implementation of linked transit hubs (or connection points) within a given metropolitan area have the potential to produce massive system-wide impacts within a given transportation network. On the other hand, solutions to questions of access are unlikely to come from a top-down approach alone. Multiple NGO and private partners, multiple programs for the delivery of social services and an evolving ecology of new mobility technologies and options already exist within cities, supported by multiple funding sources and an evolving marketplace, increasingly informed by the sharing economy, transformations in user preferences and behaviors, and the emergence of “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) models. The efforts of this project aim to capture and engage these potentials through a design-research method that incorporates a top down, data-driven approach with bottom-up stakeholder perspectives to develop prototypical scenario-based design solutions that can provide city and industry leadership with a model process to pursue the development and delivery of access-enabling transportation infrastructures through NMH facilities. A central thrust of this work is to provide legible examples of how NMH solutions might be designed, and how they might be produced within existing urban systems, funding frameworks, and policy related contexts.
This study is grounded within the Region V metropolitan area of Chicago, which possesses an extensive and varied multimodal transportation system which, when studied across the spectrum of communities served, offers a diverse set of contexts to test the project hypotheses to serve multiple constituencies and offer a range of spatial typologies through which to test these principles at several scales of implementation.
Using wearable-based technology to help seniors stay mobile and age in place, while avoiding exposure to falls and environmental risks or hazards.
The Urban Collaboratory is working with the USEPA and the Great Lakes Water Authority to remediate and restore the Rouge River.
Recommendations were developed to promote regional planning to ensure infrastructure investments are equitable and result in high-quality drinking water.
Robots are anticipated to make the global construction industry safer and more attractive to workers, easing a worker shortage in the United States.
While parks are designed and managed to generate community benefits, there remains a need for tools that can more rigorously measure how communities use parks.
The Sensors in a Shoebox project focuses on empowering Detroit youth as agents of change for their city.
A grassroots train-the-trainer program on how to install, operate and maintain faucet-mounted point-of-use filters to protect for lead in drinking water.
Using remote sensing and security camera data to better understand how people are using the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy public spaces.
The first in a series of health clinic prototypes that bring technology-enabled chronic health care monitoring to remote, underserved global populations.
Studying rideshare options like Lyft and Uber, with special focus on individuals with limited transportation choices.
The goal of this project is to explore seamless and independent mobility for people with physical disabilities.
The city of Benton Harbor wishes to transform Ox Creek into a residential, recreational and commercial centerpiece linking important segments of the community.
Mapping detailed geographies of digital access and exclusion across Detroit’s neighborhoods.
A major source of bridge deterioration requiring constant maintenance is mechanical expansion joints installed between adjacent simple span bridge decks.
The project aims to reduce energy use of vehicular travels by incentivizing individual travelers to adjust travel choices and driving behaviors.
Facilitating an on-demand, seamless, and efficient mobility service for the Benton Harbor community, especially among low-mobility families.
Collecting travel data to help Benton Harbor improve travel options for residents, with the goal of increased employment participation and retention.
Associate Professor of Architecture
Associate Dean for Creative Practice
Geoffrey Thün is Associate Professor of Architecture and Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan where he teaches design studios, courses in urban systems, site operations and material systems. He is a founding partner in the research-based practice RVTR. He holds an M.UD from the University of Toronto, and a Professional BArch and BES from the University of Waterloo.
Thün’s work ranges in scale from that of the regional territory and the city, to high performance buildings, to full-scale prototype-based work exploring responsive and kinetic envelopes that mediate energy, atmosphere, and social space. These operational scales are tied together through a methodology that entails a complex systems approach; one that assembles around each project a multiplicity of agents, forces and contexts and leverages these multivalent and sometimes contradictory agents towards integrated and synthetic design work. His academic research has attracted external funding from the U.S. Department of Energy / National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Research Council of Canada (NRCan), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Ford Motor Company. Geoffrey is also a co-founder of the Urban Collaboratory.
Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice
Kathy Velikov is Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She is a licensed Architect and founding partner of the research-based practice rvtr (www.rvtr.com), and the Vice President of ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture). Her work investigates and experiments with the intertwinements across architecture, the environment, technology, and sociopolitics through design methods that mobilize systems-based approaches and computational design. Her work ranges from material prototypes that explore environment-aware behavioral building skin assemblies, to high-performance building design, to research on urbanism, infrastructure, and territorial practices explored through techniques of mapping and analysis, speculative design propositions, installations, and writing. Most recent work has focused on material ecologies and on social infrastructure and environmental justice in multiscalar urban design. Her academic research has been funded by U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Power Authority, the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative, Guardian Industries, and Ford Motor Company.
She is co-editor of Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape, and the Postnatural (Actar, 2021) and co-author of Infra Eco Logi Urbanism (Park Books, 2015). Both projects have been developed as traveling exhibitions co-curated and co-produced by Velikov and exhibited in galleries in New York City, Ithaca, Charlottesville, Toronto, Montreal, New Haven, Knoxville, and Ann arbor. Her work and writing has been published in numerous journals and book chapters. Honors include the ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award (2020), the Technology + Architecture Design (TAD) Journal Research Contribution Award (2020), two R&D Awards from Architecture Magazine (2010, 2016), a Journal of Architectural Education Best Design as Research Article (2013), the Architizer A+ Award Program’s Architecture + Sound Jury Award (2013), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Award (2012, 2014), a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Award of Excellence for Innovation in the Practice of Architecture (2011), the Canadian Professional Prix de Rome (2009), the Architectural League of New York’s Young Architect’s Forum Award (2008), and the Oberdick Fellowship at Taubman College (2006-07)
At Taubman College, Kathy teaches Architecture design studio, thesis, ecology and technology seminars, and in the Master of Science in Digital and Material Technologies.