Envisioning Our Micro-Urban Future

Following the creation of the Micro-Urban video in 2011 (see below), a diverse group of existing and emerging leaders came together for the Micro-Urban Transformational Leadership Summit—convened by University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Champaign Mayor Don Gerard, and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing. Charged with progressively and creatively envisioning greater Champaign-Urbana's future, these individuals began to collaboratively design an aspirational vision from which concrete implementation plans can flow.

"Envisioning Our Micro-Urban Future" emerged from multiple conversations that took place over the following months among leaders representing government, for-profit organizations, nonprofit organizations, education, and religion. While many urban cities could never set such aspirational goals, this community's unique characteristics allow the opportunity to successfully tackle some of our society's greatest challenges on the local level through the creation of a thriving micro-urban community.

Add your ideas to the vision on Twitter (#microurban) or via email (microurban@illinois.edu).

About Micro-Urban Champaign-Urbana

Home to one of the world’s great public research universities—and on a highly accelerated development track—Champaign-Urbana has emerged as a leading exemplar of micro-urbanism. Although the term “micro-urban” does not yet appear in the formal lexicon of urban planning or economic development in the following manner of speaking, it applies to population centers of 250,000 or less that possess a highly uncommon set of desirable attributes normally exclusively associated with much larger metropolitan centers. Among these are a vibrant arts/culture/nightlife scene, an internationally diverse population, a strong technology base, and a palpably animated public discourse on major societal and global concerns, such as sustainability and the environment.

The presence of such attributes within the context of a smaller population center—the size of which can provide advantages such as ease of transportation, more affordable living, and a stronger sense of community—positions the micro-urban lifestyle as an interesting alternative to what might be viewed as a heavier, more logistics-laden lifestyle associated with densely populated urban centers that can often diminish, rather than enhance, quality of life.

Deeply rooted in the heart of the American prairie, micro-urban Champaign-Urbana is home to Nobel Prize winners, Olympians, critically acclaimed international film and music festivals, world-renowned entrepreneurs, elite chefs, the nation’s newest major marathon, the newest and most powerful supercomputer in the world, radical transformers of the Internet, one of the nation’s elite public high schools, leading environmental scientists, the world’s premier university-based performing arts complex, numerous inventions that have changed lives for the better around the globe, a long line of distinguished artists, designers, architects, and landscape architects, and much more.

Smart, innovative, globally connected, and culturally rich, Champaign-Urbana is a micro-urban center on the rise.

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