Preservation Magazine, the award-winning publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has written a short article about the Planada Apartment building, which the University plans to destroy this fall, most likely to make way for new construction. While I don’t oppose growth, a human-scaled mixed-use neighborhood has largely been eradicated in the Medical Campus to be replaced with parking structures and massive new buildings. The University could easily grow and also maintain a healthy neighborhood in the medical campus by incorporating commercial and residential space in the gigantic buildings now under construction. While the students in the Hill Dorms used to have a party store very near the Planada Building, the University purchased the property and tore it down. The University could incorporate space on the ground floor of whatever building or parking garage they build for stores and restaurants, which were clearly utilized by Hill Dorm students.
Professors and students at the Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning suggested exactly that when asked by B. Joseph White to brainstorm ways to improve north campus – their designs included a walkable layout of mixed-use buildings, and even a “street” of businesses and apartments not unlike the one that is nearly destroyed on the medical campus!