MIPlace Partnership Initiative


The overall intended impact for the MIplace Partnership Initiative is the implementation of placemaking activities to revitalize Michigan regions and communities statewide. This effort aims to engage community economic development activities and revitalize urban and rural communities by giving community leaders, including public, private and nonprofit partners, the knowledge and tools that they need to be successful in placemaking efforts. The benefits of these efforts include increased population attraction and retention; enhanced business development opportunities; increased job creation; a wider range of job opportunities; more mixed-use development; more affordable, livable communities for diverse population groups (including low and moderate income Michigan residents); greater social equity through improved access to amenities; more economically competitive communities; improved and protected natural environments; and increased energy efficiency and resilience.

The LPI (with the Planning & Zoning Center) provided assistance, in partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Michigan Municipal League, MSU Extension’s Greening Michigan Institute, and the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction; and other champions of placemaking, to implement the MIplace Partnership Initiative from 2012-2015.

Below are some of the projects LPI is working on as part of the MIplace Partnership Initiative.

  1. Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool: A Placemaking Guidebook: The released a 600-page guidebook that is the most comprehensive publication to date, drawing fromt eh best works available. It includes the research that supports placemaking, identifies the elements (good form, public engagement, planning processes of placemaking and the regulatory tools) to achieve it, and then takes a deep dive into each of the four types of placemaking to use to create new quality places in your community
  2. Placemaking Curriculum and Training Opportunities: The LPI led the development and maintenance of the primary vehicle that the initiative has used to educate stakeholders about placemaking: A six-module, three-level (100, 200 and 300) classroom-based curriculum. Module 7, the Placemaking Toolkit, was also added. Over the last three years, this curriculum has been used to expose 15,000 people across the state (and even some beyond) to the concepts of placemaking. The curriculum was developed by LPI staff and MSU Extension educators in 2012, with members of the Sense of Place Council (the governing network of the MIplace Partnership Initiative) providing extensive input. Since that time, the curriculum has been updated significantly five times, so that we now have Version 6.0.
  3. Placemaking Assessment Tool: The LPI developed a tool that will continue to help communities develop quality places that are attractive and functional in Michigan.
  4. WalkUP Studies Analysis: The LPI and other MIplace partners engaged in a study with Smart Growth America and George Washington University to analyze Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) in six Michigan metros: Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. The results identified the most walkable and regionally significant places to target for future economic and community development efforts, including Strategic Placemaking.
  5. Placemaking Score and Tool: The LPI conducted a first-phase analysis aimed at developing a Placemaking Score for Michigan. The assessment included an inventory of all community design scoring systems, including Walk Score, STAR Communities, Irvine Minnesota Inventory System, LEED ND, Wisconsin Active Communities Assessment and others. Then, LPI provided a recommendation for development of an effective tool, based on readily available data (where possible) that can be benchmarked and measured for progress.
  6. PlacePlans: The LPI, SPDC and MML prepared four new PlacePlans for Michigan communities, while Michigan planning consultants assisted with three more (and another five communities were assisted to move existing PlacePlans closer to implementation).
  7. LQC Grant and Technical Assistance Program: The LPI partnered with the Michigan Realtors® to administer a local grant and technical assistance program for four Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) projects in Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Marquette.
  8. Regional Prosperity Initiative Plan Analysis: The LPI provided an analysis of all 11 Round 1 Regional Prosperity Plans developed by the regions in 2013-2014 to inform current plan (2015) development and track progress being made. Learn more at, LPI and Governor’s Regional Reinvention Committee.




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