Bordering the University of Michigan’s North Campus in Ann Arbor, University Commons is a condominium community consisting of ninety-two independently owned residences. The buildings, townhomes, and villas of University Commons blend into the natural setting of hardwood forest and natural wetlands. Formally opened in 2001, University Commons was originally conceived in the 1980's by university faculty members who envisioned an intellectually satisfying living style and life-long learning, combined with the convenience of condominium living.
Community members are at least 55 years old and include faculty and staff of the University of Michigan as well as other colleges and universities, professionals and business people. Many continue to work full or part-time in paid or volunteer positions. University Commons is often described as a university oriented, academically inclined and intellectually curious community.
An active network of committees and interest groups range from Camera Club to Shakespeare. Speakers and musicians conduct lectures and concerts at the spacious recital hall.
Shared facilities include class and meeting rooms, a fitness center and an area for performances and dining. On Friday afternoons residents gather for Common Time in the Brass Rail Cafe, a casual gathering space that opens onto a large patio.
At University Commons you can choose when and how you want to be involved. A New York Times article cited University Commons as a “model” for active adults. The community has also been featured on national and local television in news features and documentaries.
In the mid 1980's, a University of Michigan faculty group considered housing for senior faculty and staff. They wished to provide a home with a living style which was as intellectually satisfying as they had found in their academic lives. They wanted to concentrate on living and life-long learning, providing for senior access and mobility needs while avoiding the orientation of an elder-care facility. Several succeeding faculty groups kept the idea and preliminary planning active, and one group with enough dedication founded the Commons. The first residents came in 2000. They, and those who followed, molded the Commons and helped it evolve to the present community.
Educational and cultural opportunities were stressed from the early planning and are striking components of the programs at the Commons. University faculty and staff, and residents themselves provide a pool of speakers for late afternoon events. Many recitals and musical programs are available as a part of the relationship between University Commons and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and other parts of the University.