Profiles of Seventh District Representation on the Fed's Community Advisory Council: Marc Norman, professor at the University of Michigan, talks about his teaching and practice, as well as not rushing his morning commute

March 12, 2019

In today’s blog we interview Marc Norman, from the University of Michigan, who is just starting his term on the Federal Reserve’s Community Advisory Council. We ask him about his role, responsibilities, and outlook.

What do you do for the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and how does your work relate to community and economic development?

I am the founder of the consulting firm “Ideas and Action” and an associate professor of practice at the University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Courses I teach include, Public Private Partnerships and an Integrative Real Estate Seminar which focuses on disruptions and emerging trends in the industry. I am also co-teaching a University of Michigan Law School course called Robots and the Workplace which investigates new technologies and their effects on workers, wages, and quality of life.

Previously a professor of practice at Syracuse University, I engaged with both students and communities by teaching courses on real estate and housing policy and also served as director of UPSTATE: A Center for Design Research and Real Estate, fostering collaboration with city, state, and university partners.

My teaching and engaged work is in addition to scholarly writings and curation of exhibitions. My most recent event was “Building Better Futures,” a conference on innovations in equitable development. Previously I curated “Designing Affordability,” an exhibition of best practices in policy, finance and architecture encompassing projects from around the world. The exhibition has run in the U.S., Australia and the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen, China. My most recent article, “Demapping Automotive Landscapes,” appears in the publication “Housing as Intervention: Architecture toward Social Equity.” Earlier publications include, “Projecting Rust Belt Futures: Underwriting Icicles and Leveraging Sidewalks” which outlined strategies for bringing investment in neighborhoods where values do not support traditional lending methods.

Please give an overview of why you wanted to join the Community Advisory Council.

With a career that started at a local community development corporation developing supportive housing in Los Angeles and moving through lending and investing landing at Deutsche Bank with responsibilities for CRA compliance and community lending, I want to engage in the larger nationwide conversations about access to wealth and opportunity.

Tell us one thing that would help us to get to know you.

I walk and ride my bicycle(s) everywhere I can. I find that these slower modes of getting around gives one the opportunity to observe the best and worst aspects of the built environment and interact with a wide variety of people from all walks of life. I feel lucky that my academic training as an urban planner and my work history in community development lets me take these observations and conversations and work collaboratively to foster change that makes for better environments, healthy places and more equitable outcomes.

Previous profiles:

Recently, we profiled Seventh District CAC member Bethany Sanchez in the CDPS blog.

We also profiled a former Seventh District CAC member Rodrick Miller in the CDPS blog.

The views expressed in this post are our own and do not reflect those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or the Federal Reserve System.


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