New LPI publication features New Economy and placemaking Ideas from 10 national leaders

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.

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 course on Smart Growth and Strategic Land Use Decision-Making 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 is taught annually by Professors Soji Adelaja, PhD, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and director of the MSU Land Policy Institute; and John Warbach, PhD, 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 & bsp;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The purpose of the semester research assignment was to promote contact and discourse between students and leaders, broaden the scope of education and enhance the preparedness of students to become future leaders themselves through a better understanding of how leaders think and act. The comments the students received from their subjects were intriguing, timely and of great potential value to statewide policy makers, other distressed states and the nation. Samplings of the leaders’ thoughts include:

  • “The past may seem like a ‘safe’ route to go, but there are better ways out there and we have to try them all in a fair and competitive arena that will allow our very best to succeed and bring the rest of the nation and the world along with us.” Majora Carter
  • “Michigan needs to come together . . . in communities of common purpose [for shared land use planning].” David Rusk
  • “Make sure [college] graduates are ready to re-invent Michigan’s economy rather than ‘get a job.’” Carol Coletta

The nation is lucky to have thought leaders in land use, the environment, social issues and economic development, who track global, national and regional trends, and who are perceptive and articulate. Many were pioneers in that they saw the big picture early and connected land use and land strategies to many of the issues that face society. Leaders across America are paying attention to the ideas of these thought leaders. Michigan’s civic leaders and students—the state’s future leaders—should pay attention to their contributions, as Michigan seeks to move forward to success and prosperity, especially for its most distressed places.

According to Professor Warbach, ”There is no one strategy that will result in success for Michigan, and the people interviewed share a wealth of different ideas on multiple strategies. They also address the fundamental problem Michigan needs to overcome: getting past the attitude that the formula that brought us success 70 years ago has much relevance today and in the future.”

Download a copy of Moving Michigan Forward.

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