Bundle up, Placemaking is a 4 season sport!

It has been an inspiring few weeks, launching outstanding PlacePlans projects in communities across Michigan.  I was fortunate to be in downtown Holland during a beautiful snow storm–yes, you read correctly, it was WONDERFUL to be out walking in the snow, on their heated sidewalks downtown, and warming up by the outdoor fireplace.

Outdoor fireplace, Holland, Michigan

Outdoor fireplace
Holland, Michigan

And I wasn’t the only person out on a snowy Wednesday night, there were joggers, lots of shoppers spending local, and New Holland Brewing was packed (it was field research, I swear!)  The City of Holland is a great example of what can happen when place-based assets converge, take root, and flourish.  To leverage that momentum, the Holland PlacePlan will focus on how to best connect the waterfront and farmer’s market area with the thriving downtown, and to the beautiful historic residential areas.  The challenge will be to accomplish this in a way that is complimentary, innovative, and value-added to the community.

From Holland we headed over to Kalamazoo, where we got better acquainted with the numerous projects that are underway.  The Kalamazoo PlacePlan will bring together projects and initiatives either planned or underway—including a new Healthy Living Campus for Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a thriving

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Farmer’s Market, the Bronson medical campus, and new investment in the Edison neighborhood. This is an important opportunity to connect assets with the existing neighborhood fabric and create a distinctive place.

The City of Flint is also focused on developing a community asset that will provide physical connection and the opportunity for fitness and recreation through its Grand Traverse Greenway PlacePlan.  On January 9th the community will begin designing the Greenway, a 3-mile segment of former railway, into a dynamic multi-use trail, creating links between Downtown, the Flint River, neighborhoods, and Flint’s universities, medical centers, schools, and recreation areas.

wjr-prosperitylogoHear more about why Diplomat Pharmacy, a major employer and economic driver in Flint, believes the Greenway will help them recruit and retain talent, and promote healthy living and recreational opportunities for their employees.

The Detroit PlacePlan is also featured on our radio program, and is the ambitious effort of The Southwest Detroit Business Association to redevelop a 6.9 acre vacant and blighted property in the heart of one of the city’s strongest commercial districts creating a public space, locally-oriented retail and community meeting space as well as new employment opportunities.

Follow along as these and the other PlacePlans take shape over the next several months!