Michigan communities are dancing to a new beat

Our state is at the forefront of a national movement that embraces "placemaking" policies in 21st-century planning. 

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Small Business Administration of Michigan (SBAM) are among the organizations helping neighborhoods, cities, regions and downtowns promote “place” as a way to spur economic development and restore our state to prosperity.

What Is Placemaking?
The movement is founded on the understanding that people, companies and talent do not move to specific communities – they move to regions. Thriving communities and successful regions are places that are attractive to employees, places where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase, and where professional networks foster collaboration and innovation. 

Our state is blessed with Pure Michigan "placemaking" success stories -- from beautiful Campus Martius Square in Detroit to the chic cafes and boutiques in Grand Rapids to the Upper Peninsula splendor of Presque Isle Park in Marquette.

We need to develop more placemaking successes. Our job begins by working together to build and maintain quality places. 

"The Power of 10"
Any great city needs to offer at least 10 great places, each including at least 10 interesting things to do. A place to sit. Playgrounds to enjoy. Art to touch. Music to hear. Food to eat. History to experience. People to meet.

Ideally, some of these activities are unique to that particular spot and are interesting enough to keep people coming back. By starting placemaking at the smallest scale, it’s possible to accomplish big things that make communities special.

We Need to Revitalize Michigan’s Sense of Place
Powerful collaborative partnerships are underway to achieve Michigan’s placemaking objectives. 

Proponents of these efforts will gather April 23-25 to address Michigan's need for placemaking policy during the Building Michigan Communities Conference in Lansing.

With over 1,700 attendees, the Building Michigan Communities Conference (formerly the Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing) has quickly become the largest conference of its kind in the United States. The conference is attended by elected officials, service providers, nonprofit and for-profit developers, realtors and financiers.

Learn More
Can’t attend the conference? No problem! On April 23, visit the debut of www.Miplace.org -- Michigan’s one-stop shop for everything about placemaking -- what it is, where it’s happening across the state, and how to get started.

The site offers inspirational first-hand accounts of Pure Michigan placemaking success stories, rich photography and videos, and the opportunity to engage in lively group discussions through the MIplace Facebook page here.

Together, we can help shape Michigan's future through placemaking.


First photo: The Wolverine Company store in downtown Grand Rapids' MoDiv retail space.

Second photo: The Heartside district of downtown Grand Rapids has many small galleries and retail spaces run by local entrepreneurs. 

Photography by ADAM BIRD
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