Building Prosperous Places in Michigan - Full Report

March 30, 2012
by S. Adelaja, T. Borowy, M. Gibson, B. Calnin, M. Graebert, Y. Hailu, J. Warbach, M. Wyckoff, C. Hurtt, K Rustem and J. Dworin

Download Full Report

Through the “Rebuilding Prosperous Places” initiative, LPI and its numerous partners (see report for details) endeavored to better understand placemaking in order to aid in its implementation in Michigan communities. The ultimate goal of the study, Building Prosperous Places in Michigan: Understanding the Values of, Perceptions of and Barriers to Placemaking, has been to help Michigan and the Rustbelt region catch up to and surpass other successful places in their ability to build placemaking projects that attract growth through the education of relevant stakeholders, transformation of policies, removal of barriers and creation of incentives. Furthermore, while placemaking is seen as being a desirable development and redevelopment platform for leveraging economic development and attracting knowledge and talented workers, there can be challenges associated with providing affordable housing to segments of the workforce. The report also shares strategies and case studies of how other cities have dealt with these challenges.

To better understand the economic impact that placemaking can have on property values, including homes that are affordable to the workforce and lower income households, the marginal price of placemaking elements (walkability, mixed use, access to parks, schools, lakes and several others) were analyzed using home sale prices in three Michigan cities (Lansing, Traverse City and Royal Oak). Certain placemaking features were found to have a positive relationship to home sale prices. For instance, living closer to a river, lake, school, Michigan State University or the downtown was associated with a higher priced home in Lansing. In the case of Royal Oak, living within close proximity (quarter-mile) of grocery stores, was associated with a lower priced home. In Traverse City, homes closer to Lake Michigan sold for a higher price. Several other relationships were explored, such as the distance to specialty food stores, restaurants, bars and other establishments, the effects of which varied by both city and distance.

The report also summarizes survey responses of financial institutions, local units of government and developers on barriers and perceptions of placemaking.