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Norman Tyler papers

Identifier: 010.NT

Scope and Contents

The Norman Tyler papers document the work of Tyler while on the faculty of the Geology and Geography Department particularly in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at Eastern Michigan University. It contains materials related to both the Urban and Regional Planning program and the Historic Preservation program from 1990 to 2014.

The collection is organized into four series: Courses/Teaching, Publications, Accreditation of the Urban and Regional Planning Program, and Urban and Regional Planning Documents. Each series is subdivided into topical subseries.

The Courses/Teaching series consists of information used throughout the teaching of various classes. These documents are arranged alphabetically by the course identification number. These numbers include GEO and GEOG for the Geography Program, GPLN and URP for the Urban and Regional Planning Program, and GHPR and GHP for the Historic Preservation Program. The papers are left in the order they were received. At the end of this section is the Land Use Team Exercise that Tyler used in his Urban and Regional Planning classes.

The Publications series is a collection of papers that have been collected by Tyler over the years. They include newspaper and journal articles, book chapters, and student theses and final projects. This series is arranged based on topic and/or journal title. One well documented subseries is on the Forest Knoll flooding issue; Forest Knoll being a housing complex in Detroit.

The Accreditation of the Urban and Regional Planning Program series is arranged chronologically starting in 1996. The rest of the documents portray the steps taken to obtain and keep the accreditation of the program while Tyler was involved.

During the accreditation process, the Urban and Regional Planning Program was required to collect documents for a program library. These documents are included in the Urban and Regional Planning Documents series and consist of master plans, information about airport planning, planning for recreational spaces, etc. This series is ordered with documents from the City of Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Township followed by the City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. The next section is Michigan Counties and they have been placed alphabetically. The following section has information from other states. Towards the end of this series, there are documents relating to national and federal regulations. A few documents have also been included from other countries.

Tyler served in a number of capacities for the EMU Planning Program. He was a Representative to the university's Undergraduate Research Symposium, a member or the Chair of search committees for seven faculty searches, the Coordinator of the Planning Program's Professionals Advisory Board, etc. However, the papers associated with these programs are not included with the collection. Along with the program papers, the research papers for Tyler’s writings, books, articles, etc., are not included in the collection.


  • Creation: 1990 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical / Historical

Norman Tyler was born in Muskegon, Michigan on October 6, 1944. After graduating high school, Tyler volunteered for the Peace Corps where he served in Sierra Leone, West Africa in the Rural Development Program from 1964 to 1966. After receiving his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1970, Norm continued his volunteer service with the VISTA program by serving in the Neighborhood Design Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and as a trainer and recruiter for the Peace Corps and VISTA programs.

In 1974 he and his wife, Ilene, started Tyler/Tyler Architects an architectural and planning firm in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. A significant project from this period was serving as planner and architect for a new town. During this time he also was an Instructor at Penn State’s Fayette campus teaching architecture courses.

In the early 1980s, Tyler and his family moved back to Ann Arbor where he became a Graduate Assistant at the University of Michigan and taught the graduate Preservation Studio course for three years. He obtained his Doctor of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1987, with a dissertation topic evaluating downtown revitalization efforts in Michigan cities. During this period he established his own firm, Norman Tyler Architect/Planner, with architecture, planning, and historic survey projects in the local region.

In 1988, Tyler became an adjunct instructor at Eastern Michigan University, where he taught the Community Development and Downtown Revitalization course. In 1990, he became a faculty member of EMU’s Urban and Regional Planning Program. He served as the program’s director for seventeen years, during which time he coordinated the effort to gain accreditation for EMU's Urban and Regional Undergraduate Planning program. He also obtained a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University in 1998.

Tyler has written numerous articles and given many presentations on topics relating to downtown planning, historic preservation, and web-based education. He taught the first online course at Eastern Michigan University, an introductory historic preservation course. Since 1988 he has been developing the "Rivertown Simulation," which has evolved into an online simulation of a fictional city used in city planning courses.

Over his years of service, he has received many awards and recognition including the following:

College of Fellows, American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP), April 2012. Eastern Michigan University Teaching Excellence Award, 2005. Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology Award at the Ninth International Conference on College Teaching, Learning, and Technology, 1998. Alpha Rho Chi medal for student leadership, 1970.

He has also been a member of professional organizations, many for over 20 years. They include:

American Planning Association (Urban Design and Preservation Division), American Institute of Certified Planners Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (through university) National Trust for Historic Preservation Ann Arbor Preservation Alliance Michigan Association of Planning (former Executive Committee member, initial chair of its FAICP nomination committee) Michigan Historic Preservation Network (former board member) Neighborhood Design Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Tyler has authored and co-authored a number of books and articles over his career, including:

Planning and Community Development: A Guide for the 21st Century by Norman Tyler and Robert M. Ward (December 13, 2010) Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice by Norman Tyler (October 17, 1999). A second edition was printed February 4, 2009 and co-authored by Ted J. Ligibel and Ilene R. Tyler Greek Revival in America: Tracing Its Architectural Roots to Ancient Athens by Norman Tyler and Ilene R. Tyler (November 14, 2014)

Tyler retired from the faculty at Eastern Michigan University in August 2014. He and his wife still reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


18.6 Linear Feet (1 archive box, 14 record center cartons,1 oversize folder, and 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



The Norman Tyler papers document the work of Tyler while on the faculty of the Geology and Geography Department particularly in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at Eastern Michigan University. It contains materials related to both the Urban and Regional Planning program and the Historic Preservation program from 1990 to 2014. The collection is organized into four series and does not include materials related to Tyler's research, writing. The primary focus of the collection is on his teaching and service to the University through directing and overseeing the accreditation of the the Urban and Regional Planning Program.

Norman Tyler papers
Kristen M. Koeglinger, Alexis Braun Marks, CA
2014 Decmeber 14
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197