Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool

Ten years of severe economic decline in Michigan required a new approach. Cities needed rebuilding, but without the ability to attract and retain talented workers and businesses, state and local incentives could not be sustained. This session will explain how to use targeted placemaking as an economic development tool to accelerate urban redevelopment.

This is a case study with potential replicability at the state, regional, or local levels. Presenters will explain how a small group of stakeholders organized as a Sense of Place Council and then grew into a much larger organization. The focus is on improving the quality and amount of redevelopment in targeted centers (downtowns), nodes, and corridors by use of effective placemaking that is rooted in good urban form and broad stakeholder participation. Products include: an innovative six-module placemaking curriculum with more than 100 trainers (and more than 15,000 persons trained), funding of two dozen PlacePlans, realignment of more than $1 billion in state grant spending around largely urban placemaking objectives, and promotion of a Redevelopment Ready Communities certification program among other efforts.

You'll learn about:

  • The benefits that come from marshaling the energy and resources of many groups around creation of quality places 
  • How focusing the unique skills of different organizations to problem solve or target actions on issues of common interest can result in better and more certain outcomes than attempting to address them alone
  • The power of the talent-business-place triangle in creating stronger communities
  • How targeted placemaking that utilizes the unique strengths of creative, tactical, standard, and strategic placemaking can return better quality of life and economic development benefits
  • Ways state agencies can redirect resources to produce synergies and benefits across multiple agencies and communities