As the League has traveled around the state of Michigan, we’ve seen numerous shining examples of creative placemaking in communities large and small. The stories behind these placemaking efforts were so inspirational that we wanted to share them with the world.The result is our new book, “The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities.”
This book goes beyond placemaking as a concept, to offer real-world examples of economic drivers and agents of social and cultural change in Michigan’s own backyard. They represent some of the many place-based catalysts that can spark the kind of transformational changes that reinvent and revitalize a community, with tangible payoffs in terms of livability, social and cultural enrichment, and economic development. But most of all, they show us that placemaking is an art not a science, and displays itself in as many shapes, sizes and colors as a community can imagine.
Each page takes the reader on a virtual journey across the state to discover how these large and small efforts have transformed communities. Get a taste of how Baroda and Paw Paw have cultivated the local wine industry into a growing tourist attraction. Feast your eyes on Traverse City’s Film Festival and Ludington’s Sculpture Garden that bring in art aficionados from near and far. Get ready to pedal through scenic pathways, like Oakland County’s Paint Creek Trail and Marquette’s Noquemanon Trails Network—along with thousands of others who frequent the trails as well as the surrounding communities. Kick your civic engagement practices over the goal line as you read Detroit’s playbook on using sports and food to bring the community together. Many more stories like these fill the pages of the book.
These in-depth case studies are presented as storytelling narratives meant to engage and inspire readers with the power of placemaking. But they are also intended to provide a path to replicate their successes. Each chapter includes valuable resources, data and teaching tools related to the specific topic. Each chapter will also include case-specific examples of Public Policies and Programs, Legislation, Action Initiatives, Community Partnerships, and Economic Drivers that can facilitate similar efforts.
More details on the book, including ordering information, are available here.