The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) recently held their annual conference Jun. 26-29, 2016, in Burlington, VT. Every year, they recognize community and economic development extension professionals with national and regional awards during this event. These awards recognize a NACDEP member or group of members who have developed an outstanding effort or program that ensures meaningful diversity and inclusiveness.
This year, the Michigan State University team that co-authored the guidebook titled Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool received two NACDEP awards. The MSU team that worked on projects related to the MIplace Initiative also received two awards.
The “transect” is a land-use term that describes a location based on its relative density, natural and/or built form characteristics. All places fall into one of six transect zones, which extend from the most natural place (T1), such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, to the most developed urban place (T6) like the property surrounding Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit. Of course, there are transition zones between, but a quick look at the transect zones reveals common characteristics:
- Natural Environment (T1): Wilderness, forests, undisturbed shorelines, water bodies;
- Rural Places (T2): Working lands, agriculture lands;
- Sub-Urban Places (T3): Most new development post-WWII, shopping malls, strip commercial;
- Traditional Neighborhood Places (T4): Residential neighborhoods in small towns, big cities and first-tier suburbs;
- Downtown Places (T5): Traditional centers in large and small towns of retail, office and other business activity; main streets, civic spaces like town squares; and
- Urban Core (T6): Tall multi-use buildings, cultural and entertainment districts, civic spaces in the center of the largest, most dense cities.
A report detailing analysis of state and regional services that currently, or could potentially, support Networks Northwest’s Framework for Our Future Regional Prosperity Initiative is now available from the MSU Land Policy Institute (LPI). The Northwest Michigan Regional Services Recommendations report includes an assessment of overlaps, gaps and inefficiencies in the funding or implementation of targeted programs available to the northwestern counties of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This report was prepared by LPI for Networks Northwest.
According to the report, “aligning government services at the local, regional, state and even federal level is necessary to achieve cost savings, to avoid duplication of services, to prevent working at cross purposes, and to realize goals in a timely fashion, foremost of which is the enhanced prosperity of the Northwest Michigan region.”
The study analysis included a number of programs within five major categories: Workforce Development, Business and Economic Development, Community Development, Transportation, and Housing. These categories align with several chapters from the Framework Plan.
Setting goals within a community for an upcoming year can pose some challenges when deciding how to create a quality place. The guidebook Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool, by the MSU Land Policy Institute, identifies six characteristic hallmarks of placemaking, which contribute to creating the elements of a quality place. Any community can work to achieve these elements, and use placemaking as a tool to plan to enhance or create more quality places.