April 12th, 2012 2:44 PM by Eileen Denhard
Why is"Placemaking" picture-perfect for Michigan's economy?
Neighborhoods, cities,regions and states across Americaare taking notice of how important "place" is in the economicdevelopment equation.
Michigan isno exception.
To revitalize Michiganwe must examine our state through a new lens, taking into account the types ofplaces where New Economy workers, entrepreneurs and businesses want to locate,invest and expand.
This approach is commonly described as a "sense of place" or just"placemaking." It’s a simple concept really, based on a singleprinciple -- talented and young people settle in places that offer theamenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities tosupport thriving lifestyles. Michigan can attract and retain talent-basedworkers by focusing on how best to utilize our regional communities' uniqueplacemaking assets such as squares, plazas, parks, streets, green spaces andwaterfronts.
Our job begins by working together to build and maintain quality places in eachregion of Michiganthat will reinvent our state for the 21st century.
Don’t just take our word for it. Ask Cynthia Kay, founder of ahigh-definition media production and communications consulting company.
Kay’s six-person firm’s clients include multinationals like HermanMiller, Amway Global, Siemens Industry, Novartis, Wiley Publishing, as well aseducational institutions like Michigan State University, Grand Valley StateUniversity and Hope College.
She could have opened her state-of-the-art shop anywhere. Kay chose Grand Rapids because ofher belief that a vibrant community is vital to success -- not just to hercorporate bottom line but to the quality of life her family, employees andneighbors proudly enjoy.
"Our downtown is a place where people want to be," she says."You’ll find students, young professionals, entrepreneurs andcorporate types out and about networking and socializing, in cafes, restaurantsand parks. We get to rub shoulders, rub ideas together, and the magic thatresults is good for business.
"And the arts scene in Grand Rapids is a big part of it all. From museums to ArtPrize, it’s an energizing environment where things can and do happen.When you’re a part of a community like this, you want to become a part ofit and give back -- that’s why we donate our services to many nonprofits.It’s part of the cycle that brings people and ideas together."
The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the Michigan StateHousing Development Authority (MSHDA) share Cynthia Kay’s belief:placemaking matters.
Together, we are helping Michigan’sstate and local governments eliminate barriers to placemaking, leverage privateinvestment, promote diverse housing choices and mixed-use development, spuralternative transportation, embrace cultural activities and cultivate green spaces.The best thinking about successful communities and regions points to oneconclusion. Creating vibrant, attractive public spaces is not just a winningeconomic strategy. Placemaking is picture-perfect for Michigan’s return to prosperity.
Learn more about Michiganplacemaking at the new, groundbreaking site miplace.org which will be unveiledat the Communities Conference April 23-25.
Source - MetroMode