Debates over land use regulation, sustainable development, sprawl, community design, and the municipal finance implications of these occupy virtually every local government in this nation and abroad. The revival of many American downtowns and the urbanization of selective suburban places are a testament to profound changes in real estate development after decades of building only drivable suburban development. However, just as the United States is adjusting to changing market demands, much of the developing world is emulating the drivable suburban American model of the twentieth century.

Few planners, lawyers, business leaders, and designers who influence metropolitan development understand the complexity of real estate development. They are not as effective as they could be in improving the way development occurs. Many of those trained in a single field, such as business, law, or urban planning, could be more effective in creating places that contribute to a positive quality of life for people of all incomes and preserve the natural environment if they had an education that spanned several professional fields.

The certificate in real estate development offers graduate students in many fields the opportunity to supplement their major areas of study with broad knowledge about making substantially better metropolitan developments. The program is also a stand-alone certificate for those full-time and part-time students who want to focus only on real estate development. The program aims to guide students in integrating disciplines that shape the built environment and enhance the quality of life for all people while conserving the natural environment. Upon graduation, students are professionals equipped to become the place-makers of the next generation.

About the Certificate

Real estate development directly or indirectly affects energy consumption, global climate change, social relations and equity, public finance, foreign policy, capital markets, and personal and corporate wealth creation. Long a consumer of locally generated finance, it became the newest global financial asset class in the 1990s, joining stocks, bonds, and cash. And as recent experience has shown, the collapse of a real estate bubble can cause a severe recession.

Most real estate development of the last half-century has taken the form of standard products built in a low-density, sprawling fashion. These standard product types are generally exclusively served by automobile, and their form is largely determined by parking and access by car. Most zoning ordinances in the United States mandate this form of development. The actors in the real estate industry, including developers, bankers, investors, and consultants, have all been trained in this type of development. However, it has spawned many unintended, negative social, economic, fiscal, and environmental consequences.

The University of Michigan real estate development program is committed to a different way, a progressive approach to developing real estate and the built environment in the U.S. and worldwide.

The focus of the UM program is on creating places that offer alternatives to auto-oriented development and that reduce environmental impact, enhance choices for people of all incomes, and have many uses within walking distance of one another. The Michigan real estate development program teaches students about building sustainable places that minimize the ecological footprint of the built environment. We explore how to build a sense of place that also encourages housing for all income levels while creating long-term wealth to motivate investors to care about the quality of the built environment. Ultimately, the program encourages building places that we can feel proud of our role in creating.


Faculty whose teaching and research relate to real estate development:

Lan Deng
Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning Program, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Judith Grant Long
Associate Professor of Sports Management, School of Kinesiology

Kit McCullough
Lecturer, Architecture Program, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Joan Nassauer
Professor, Landscape Architecture Program, School for Environment and Sustainability

Lynda Oswald
Professor of Business Law, Ross School of Business

Mark Rosentraub
Bruce and Joan Bickner Endowed Professor of Sport Management, School of Kinesiology

Melina Duggal

Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Jill Schloff
Intermittent Lecturer, Ross School of Business

Zach Sheinberg

Intermittent Lecturer, Ross School of Business