The University of Memphis Design Collaborative

The University of Memphis Design Collaborative is a new joint venture between the Division of City & Regional Planning and the Department of Architecture. This Design Collaborative will be an outreach arm of the University, focused on critical community challenges in urban design and community development. The Design Collaborative developed from a partnership between the University of Memphis and the Memphis Regional Design Center.

Through its interdisciplinary strengths, the Design Collaborative will connect building and site design to community improvement in a comprehensive way, supported by the kind of collaboration that a university setting can facilitate. The Design Collaborative will seek to make the relationship between citizens and the city (as a physical, social, and economic entity) work better.

Design Collaborative activities will be:

  • Built on collaboration, with partnerships between different disciplines at the University, and partnerships between the University and the community (including grassroots organizations, non-profits, practitioners, philanthropists, and local government).
  • Forward-thinking and focused on what we want Memphis to be
  • Comprehensive, so that we're promoting public projects that complement each other and drive a common community objective

The Design Collaborative will start taking on projects next fall through a structure of graduate studio courses. A series of events this spring will help set the agenda for those projects.

Let's Stay Together, Memphis!

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What is relationship therapy for the city and its citizens?

The bottom line is that we're all in a long-term relationship with the city that we live in. We want to make the relationship between citizens and the city (as a physical, social, and economic entity) work better!

A real relationship is deeper than just the good things. Whether times are good or bad happy or sad... a real relationship requires communication, understanding, and a desire and willingness to work through the difficult issues.

The UMDC (as the therapist) wants to help develop projects and plans that will help our city be more responsive to the needs and preferences of its citizens.

To get there, we need to understand the perspectives of the citizens.

We need to know what you love, what frustrates you, and where you see this relationship going. By answering these questions, you'll be contributing to a comprehensive understanding of Memphis' assets and liabilities a to a common comprehensive vision for our future.


To help, check out the "Tough Love Letter" template and our interactive community maps!

"Tough Love" Letter

To write your tough love letter to the city click on the online template:



Interactive Community Map

Contribute to our interactive community map (what you love, what needs to change, and what you want to see) by clicking here.