Investing in communities is critical to long-term economic development, and Michigan’s future depends on its ability to attract and retain active, diverse and engaged residents. Local governments must foster the dynamics of place to become thriving communities in the 21st century.
Effective civic engagement is a key element in community improvement. Involving residents in placemaking discussions and decisions helps ensure successful projects throughout the implementation process.
Many Michigan communities have already launched projects that significantly enhance their residents’ sense of place. Click on one of the eight assets of 21st century communities below to read about their creative, effective place projects and learn how to get a project started in your community.
Eight Assets of 21st Century Communities
Physical Design & Walkability – Millennials, young professionals, baby boomers and empty nesters all want to live in walkable, mixed-used areas with access to cultural, social and entertainment opportunities.
Green Initiatives – The way we use energy and natural resources impacts our quality of life and financial bottom line. The potential to grow green industries, implement sustainable practices, and get on the cutting edge of current trends exists right here in Michigan.
Cultural Economic Development – Arts and culture are essential components of a thriving, knowledge-based economy. A healthy creative sector attracts and retains residents and businesses, and produces economic benefits including jobs, a stronger tax base, downtown and neighborhood revitalization, and tourism.
Entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurship and small businesses are key components of local economic development. Local strategies that solely focus on seeking large manufacturers and big box retailers overlook the positive impact that entrepreneurs and small businesses have on local communities.
Welcoming – Creating and sustaining a genuine commitment to welcoming diversity and multiculturalism in Michigan’s communities is vital to attracting key demographics and global businesses.
Messaging & Technology - Internet and communication technologies are connecting people and allowing them to share information faster and more frequently than ever before. Local governments are using new technologies to improve communication, transparency and engagement with their residents.
Transit – Developing effective public transit options in Michigan is a necessary tool for attracting and retaining residents, workers and businesses. People across the nation are choosing communities that offer various modes of transportation, easy access to the places they live, work, and play, and allow them to travel without having to rely on a car.
Education – Educational institutions, kindergarten through college, play a central role in growing a knowledge-based economy and encouraging a more engaged citizenry. As anchor institutions, colleges and universities bring opportunities for entertainment, arts and culture, healthcare, and recreation, and serve as engines of economic development.