University of Memphis Design Collaborative


The University of Memphis Design Collaborative (UMDC) is committed to increasing the capacity of planning and design to better serve communities. Our work is done through collaboration with our many partners. Through its interdisciplinary strengths, the Design Collaborative connects design to community improvement in a comprehensive way, supported by the kind of collaboration that a university setting can facilitate. The Design Collaborative seeks to make the relationship between citizens and the city (as a physical, social, and economic entity) work better.

Focus & Priorities:

The Design Collaborative's delivery process includes the following two components: the talent and experience of the research center staff and the UMDC Studio course. The fall and spring studios serve to educate students through engaged scholarship while collaborating with the public on place-based solutions.

Our community engagement process has helped establish our direction and initial focus. The critical community issues that form our current work are centered around the built environment's effect on quality of life through public health, safety, and mobility of Memphians.

Priority Initiatives:

To maximize the value of limited resources, it is important to focus on initiatives that closely align with the Collaborative's mission and have the most impact. Characteristics of these priority initiatives are those that:

  1. Have the potential for positive catalytic impact on the community,
  2. Establish and/or strengthen collaborative partnerships,
  3. Support the educational mission of the Collaborativer and the University,
  4. Leverage the Collaborative's research focus, and
  5. Provide an opportunity to share positive messaging.

Selection Criteria for Project Initiatives that:

  1. Has a positive catalytic impact on the community at large
  2. Engages citizens and stakeholders in the larger project area
  3. Establishes and/or strengthens collaborative partnerships (non-profit focus)
  4. Is a prototype that can be replicated (not a one off)
  5. Provides an opportunity to share positive messaging to our target audiences
  6. Maximizes the value and strengths of the Design Collaborative
  7. Leverages and advances the UMDC's multi-disciplinary research focus
  8. Provides the opportunity to add resource capacity to the UMDC
  9. Provides educational opportunities for the Center and the community
  10. Is located in Delta region with a focus on Memphis (priority in Core City)