Placemaking

What defines a community? It’s the common ground where people gather – from housing, squares, streets and plazas to parks, green spaces and waterfronts. We believe that by revitalizing communities and rebuilding neighborhoods, we can strengthen the entire state. Together with our many partners, we invest in Michigan communities to enhance the quality of life of our residents – and to attract and retain businesses, entrepreneurs and workers throughout the state.

To revitalize Michigan we must examine our state through a new lens, taking into account the types of places where New Economy workers, entrepreneurs and businesses want to locate, invest and expand.

This approach is commonly described as creating a “sense of place” or just “placemaking.” It’s a simple concept really, based on a single principle – people choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles. Michigan can attract and retain talent – especially young, knowledge-based talent – by focusing on how best to take advantage of the unique placemaking assets of our regional communities.

Our job begins by working together to create, improve and maintain quality places across Michigan that will help us reimagine our state for the 21st century.

Key components to effective placemaking. Include:

Housing

Through the MIplace Partnership Initiative we work with state agency partners that improve and revitalize homes, neighborhoods and communities. The Community Development division’s Rental Rehabilitation program helps renovate second-story housing units in traditional downtown areas to increase activity and business revenue. To deal with the national crisis of mortgage and foreclosure, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program helps redevelop Michigan’s hardest-hit areas. Our partners work to target and administer funds for specific redevelopment activities. And, MSHDA, to aid in affordable housing, offers low-interest home improvement loans and down payment assistance.

Learn more about these community development efforts.

Transportation

Transportation directly affects the sustainability and livability of a region. It is a goal of the MIplace Partnership Initiative to make positive strides in transportation because it understands the impact that public transportation, commuting alternatives and walkability have on a community. MIplace supports partner initiatives such as Complete Streets, which improves roadways while taking into account the local context of the area, functionality and the mobility needs of all users. After all, we know that transportation is a key factor when choosing a place to live.

Learn more about Michigan transportation.

Historic Preservation

Michigan’s historic buildings, downtowns, and neighborhoods define our communities. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), part of MIplace partner MSHDA, works with homeowners, developers, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to preserve the places that make our communities unique. Historic preservation enhances property values, creates jobs, revitalizes downtowns and promotes tourism. SHPO programs such as the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, and the National Register of Historic Places support people who want to preserve Michigan’s historic places as vibrant, vital community assets so they can be enjoyed by Michiganders and visitors alike.

Learn more about Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office.

Michigan Main Street

The Michigan Main Street Program (from MIplace Initiative partner MSHDA) provides technical assistance to downtown businesses to help them revitalize and preserve their traditional commercial districts. This program re-energizes communities across Michigan, attracting new residents with mixed-use housing, vibrant downtowns and local charm. These enhanced areas attract businesses, promote investment and jump-start economic growth. In other words, it’s a natural fit with the goals of MIplace.

Learn more about the Michigan Main Street program.

Green Space

Protecting green space is important to protecting the region’s natural resources and their many economic benefits. Our natural resources, state parks and recreation areas provide millions in revenue to the region. Hunting and fishing are also major economic drivers for the state. Individuals, municipalities and organizations are all responsible for and working toward a sustainable region. We support organizations that seek to protect these assets and green spaces near housing and downtowns, and throughout entire communities.

Learn more about protecting our green spaces with Michigan State University’s Land Policy Institute.

Talent

Because Michigan is quickly transitioning from a manufacturing-based to a knowledge-based economy, our ability to provide employers with skilled workers is critical to the state’s economy. Michigan’s colleges, universities and other research institutions, together with our broad base of high-tech businesses, position the state to become an innovative leader in the new economy. We work with other organizations to support initiatives that help ensure Michigan’s young talent will choose to live and work in our state, and to create vibrant and attractive communities that will help attract new talent and businesses to the region.

Learn more about Michigan talent and jobs.

Entrepreneurialism

Our MIplace Initiative partners are working with business and civic leaders to help cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship that will provide a rich, stable source of jobs for the state. As local networks of entrepreneurs grow, word spreads and the community becomes attractive to others of like mind and ambition. This philosophy is the basis of “economic gardening,” a growth model based on encouraging development and growth of local businesses with high growth aspirations and potential as opposed to focusing outward at business acquisition. The kinds of communities that appear to foster this process are sometimes referred to as new urban communities that include residential, retail and commercial use, dense population that creates a sense of activity and energy, and neighborhoods that are within walking distance of such amenities as bars, restaurants, galleries and music venues. One partner, MSHDA, is playing a key role in leading the effort to promote development of such communities and to entwine economic gardening into them.

Find out more about the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

TIDE

Michigan’s work and investment strategies are guided by data and metrics through the new TIDE Community Online Assessment Tool. TIDE stands for Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment. MIplace Initiative partners worked together to complete the TIDE economic growth model.

This tool aids communities with their asset analyses and strategic planning for economic growth by giving them an opportunity to see their current number of jobs based on the TIDE components and how those numbers would change based on changes in any of the components. The TIDE model may well be the first tool in the nation to help communities measure the economic development potential of proposed investments and initiatives in the New Economy. Once a community has evaluated its assets and established a formal assessment using the web-based TIDE tool, it will know where to focus its attention and resources to create a thriving and prosperous community.

Learn more about the TIDE Community Assessment Tool.


Feature Stories

Community Development and Local Government Reforms
It is clear that we need to look beyond our own immediate township, city and county boundaries in order to build a stronger Michigan. We...

Placemaking Is New, State-wide Economic Development Strategy 
Interest in the idea of placemaking and Place-based Governance has been "percolating" around the world during the past...