Home to one of the worlds great public research universitiesand on a highly accelerated development trackChampaign-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 centerthe size of which can provide advantages such as ease of transportation, more affordable living, and a stronger sense of communitypositions 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 nations newest major marathon, the newest and most powerful supercomputer in the world, radical transformers of the Internet, one of the nations elite public high schools, leading environmental scientists, the worlds 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.
Motion Graphics/Design: Vanessa Burgett
Photography: Valerie Oliveiro