This year, the Land Policy Institute (LPI)’s contribution to research and outreach efforts have included such topics as placemaking, economic development, regionalism, legacy cities and land use, among others. The Institute has been working with many units on campus, as well as stakeholders and policy makers in the state and nationwide in support of building and maintaining sustainable communities in Michigan.
Effective placemaking techniques can yield a number of benefits for communities of all shapes and sizes when it comes to activating public spaces. Placemaking can be implemented in various places, such as an entire downtown district or a single neighborhood, to improve the local quality of life. These techniques can also be used to help communities attract and retain talent through improving the quality of their key centers, nodes and corridors, and providing a wider range of housing, transportation, entertainment and recreational opportunities.
Through attracting new talent to the area, placemaking has the potential to increase economic competitiveness by creating jobs to retain these talented workers, which in turn will create a growing tax base and tax revenues that can support the growth of urban services. Increasing these services and bringing in new residents and visitors also makes communities more attractive for developers, since they are likelier to have a higher return on investment. Plus, the increased activity in the area creates an environment that is more favorable for new businesses to open.
Placemaking can also assist in economic development at the regional level, where regionally significant locations can be targeted for Strategic Placemaking projects, which can lead to their inclusion in regional economic development plans as areas that are priorities for new investment.
Since 2009, the MSU Planning & Zoning Center (PZC), a part of the MSU Land Policy Institute, has offered the Zoning Administrator Certificate (ZAC) Program in locations all around the state. New and current zoning administrators make up the majority of participants attending the training. However, the program has attracted private consultants, local elected officials, county planners, and state agency staff who consult with local Zoning Administrators. It has even attracted some unexpected participants who may have taken on the responsibility of the zoning administration, due to lack of staff and funding at the municipal or county levels.
The PZC is offering the training program in Plymouth at the Hilton Garden Inn on Feb. 15-16, 2017. Space is available and early registration ends on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, so be sure to reserve your space today!
All zoning administrators (ZA) should attend this program at some point in their career. The sooner they take the classes after becoming an administrator, the better able they will be to do their job well. The ZAs who have attended the program have had varying levels of experience and all have benefitted from the program.
The state has poured millions and millions of dollars into blight removal activities across Michigan, with one belief being that it can improve property values. But how effective is removing blight toward achieving that goal? While the negative impacts of blight are well documented, the positive impacts of blight removal haven’t been as well documented, according to Mark Wyckoff, senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University. That’s one reason why Wyckoff and his research team have been hired by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to conduct such a study, focused on Michigan’s investment of federal dollars in blight removal across 16 Michigan cities.