Moving Michigan Forward: National Thought Leaders Speak on New Economy, New Strategies, New Places

April 8, 2011
by John Warbach, Soji Adelaja, Jordan Blekking, Katherine Cole, Catherina-Dorothee Grubel, David Ivan, David Katanski, Jae-Young Kim, Tom Larkin, Jordan Skole, Rachel Soloman and Jeff Stivenson

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Ideas from 10 national thought leaders on how Michigan can move forward, is available for review in a new MSU Land Policy Institute special report: “Moving Michigan Forward: National Thought Leaders on New Economy, New Strategies, New Places.” The report highlights important strategies and recommendations and advice for the state in the areas of:

  • Making places that will attract people and economic growth;
  • Working at the regional level;
  • Detroit’s revitalization;
  • The importance of renewable energy;
  • How attitudes among leaders and citizens affect the state’s future; and
  • Finding investment assistance to make the improvements Michigan needs.

In 2009, Michigan State University students enrolled in the ESA 450: Smart Growth and Strategic Land Use Decision-Making course were asked to interview the leaders as part of a semester project on such topics as land use, the environment, economic development, urban design, government and social justice. The course was taught by Professors Soji Adelaja, PhD, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and former director of the MSU Land Policy Institute, and John Warbach, LPI associate director.

The national leaders interviewed, some of whom grew up in Michigan or have other ties to the state, included:

  • Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization;”
  • Carol Coletta, Executive Director of CEOs for Cities and host and Producer of the nationally syndicated radio show, Smart City;
  • Majora Carter, President and CEO of the Majora Carter Group, Founder of Sustainable South Bronx and the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Program;
  • Douglas Farr, Architect, inaugural chair of the LEED Neighborhood Development Committee, Founder of the 2030 Communities Campaign and author of “Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature;”
  • David Rusk, Urban Policy Consultant, President of the Metropolitan Area Resources Corporation, national strategic partner of the Gamaliel Foundation and former Mayor of Albuquerque, NM;
  • Christopher Leinberger, private developer, member of the Urban Land Institute, Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution and author of “The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream;”
  • Dr. John Powell, Director of the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University;
  • Richard Longworth, former Foreign Correspondent and Senior Editor of The Chicago Tribune and United Press International, Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and author of “Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalization;”
  • John Norquist, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism and former Mayor, Milwaukee, WI; and
  • Janet Barlow, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and President of Barlow Design and Accessible Design for the Blind, a nationally recognized authority on accessibility issues for the visually impaired and people with other impairments.