Study urban planning in Urbana-Champaign?
Embrace your new directional system: Go south three cornfields, then go east. You'll get used to all those seed and fertilizer commercials, and the farm price reports on the radio. And maybe you'll explore some of those surrounding small towns you usually pass on the freeway. Seriously, it's a great place to live. Perhaps one of our alumni put it best: "Several years after leaving Champaign, I realized I missed what Urbana-Champaign offers: the small town feel with the cultural attractions of a big city, all conveniently located and at a great price. It was an easy decision to return" (Lorrie Pearson, MUP '01). Here are some of the many things that we love about C-U:
Urbana's Market at the Square is one of the largest and most diverse farmers' markets in Illinois, demonstrating Urbana's firm commitment to sustainability. Since the late-1970s, farmers from the region have gathered in Urbana to provide local produce to citizens. Today the Market at the Square showcases over 170 vendors, with thousands of patrons visiting each weekend.
How do you want to get around town? Our nationally recognized C-U Mass Transit District serves over 13 million, with a growing fleet of hybrid buses. You ride for free as a student. And the drivers will get to know you. Rent Zipcars by the hour or day, and only pay for the time you use. Gas and insurance included and every reservation comes with 180 free miles per day. Urbana was designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in May of 2010. Our community has strong bicycle groups, high bicyclist mode share, a comprehensive bike plan, a broad bicycle advisory committee, and a good amount of bicycle parking. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning has two bikes in our own bike share program. The flat Prairie land is makes for easy bicycling. You'll redefine your concept of a "hill." How about a walk? In about a 15 minute walk from Temple Buell Hall, you can get to the Krannert Center, Memorial Stadium, Assembly Hall, Krannert Art Museum, the Illini Union, Campustown, the world's largest public university library, the ARC/Activities and Recreation Center, and more.
Break out your Birkenstocks and head for the West Urbana Neighborhood. Designated as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2007 through the American Planning Association's Great Places in America program, the West Urbana neighborhood was the only non-metropolitan neighborhood on the list for this first year of the program. APA selected West Urbana as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for its sustainable design, alternative forms of commuting such as walking, cycling and public transit, inviting neighborhood spaces, and community focus on enhancing quality of life. Situated between two dynamic areas — the University of Illinois and downtown Urbana — the West Urbana neighborhood has maintained its unique identity for more than a century, refusing to succumb to the pressures of high-density development or issues surrounding absentee landlords. Perhaps APA Executive Director Paul Farmer, FAICP, said it best: "The glamour of West Urbana is in the small but oh-so-important details of community life, like talking to your neighbors, being able to walk or bicycle to school or work, and participating in public meetings." Many historic properties remain today as a result of engaged residents and sustained planning efforts. Abutting the neighborhood is the Urbana Free Library, which has one of the highest usage rates in the nation.
The Downtown Champaign Entertainment District offers a thriving blend of restaurants, shops, night clubs, and art galleries. Check out the School of Art and Design's Figure One Gallery. Grab a burger and throw your peanut shells on the floor at the Esquire Lounge. See a movie in a historic single screen theater, the Art. Join the crowds at Roger Ebert's Film Festival, Ebertfest, headquartered at the Virginia Theater.
Started in 1986, the U-CYCLE recycling program in Urbana was one of Illinois' first residential curbside programs. Since then, both cities and the university have greatly expanded recycling services and new creative outlets for innovative recycling have emerged. Check out The I.D.E.A. Store, an Eco-Edu-Art Creative Re-Use Marketplace which benefits the C-U Schools Foundation. The award-winning PACA Architectural Salvage Warehouse is a treasure trove of historic building materials awaiting re-use. Shop at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, where you will find an outstanding array of gently used furniture and building supplies.
Seeking a bit of culture? We have plenty to offer on campus and beyond. Try the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts: four theaters seat about 4,000 and annually host 350 student and professional performances, as well as commencements, lectures, and other events, many of them free. Check out the Illini Union: more than 83,000 students attended or participated in more than 200 programs, lectures, musicals, and concerts offered throughout the year by the Illini Union Board, the largest programming student organization on campus. The Japan House and Arboretum offers formal and informal tearooms, stroll gardens, and art and cultural classrooms. See more than 9,000 works of art at Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion's permanent collection. Enjoy the more than 46,000 artifacts of global cultures at the Spurlock Museum. Our campus's four Cultural Centers include the Afro-American, Asian-American, La Casa Cultural Latina, and Native American houses.
Sports, anyone? State Farm Center seats 15,500, and consistently ranks among the top 15 in the nation for university arenas presenting national touring concerts and family show. It hosts concerts, Broadway shows, campus events and men's and women's basketball games. The new ARC/Activities and Recreation Center is one of the nation's largest on-campus recreation centers, offering 340,000 square feet of activities. Hundreds of machines and weights, a 35-foot climbing wall, a 1/5 mile indoor track, 2 50-meter swimming pools, and more are waiting for you. Join more than 14,000 people in the Illinois Marathon. Held in April, the marathon winds through Urbana and Champaign, with the finish line in Memorial Stadium.