cadillac-placeplan-2014-300x200Placemaking is a dynamic, strategic approach to community development and economic revitalization based on an individual community’s strengths within core “quality of life” areas.  PlacePlans promotes a comprehensive understanding of a community’s place-based assets, and provides the tools and strategies to best leverage them.

The PlacePlans process is customized to each project and community, but each involves an intensive community engagement strategy, including a public visioning session, several public meetings to provide specific input and feedback, and direct work with key community stakeholders along the way. PlacePlans projects will positively impact each community’s ability to leverage their place-based assets as economic drivers, and will provide lessons large and small for communities across Michigan.


Bring Public Spaces to Life with Pops of Activity

Would you like to try a temporary placemaking project to gauge your community’s interest in pursuing a larger project? Try PlacePOP, the League’s low-cost-high-impact service that demonstrates the power of place!

PlacePlan Projects

Allegan – population 4,998

Downtown Riverfront Development

Allegan, one of the first cities to participate in PlacePlans, has begun implementing projects, including an events plaza, historic bridge lighting, and a redesign of Veteran’s Memorial Park. Read more…

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Download report on Allegan’s PlacePlan experience

Alpena – population 10,483

Downtown Plaza Palooza

The city of Alpena is focusing on development of a plaza in the heart of downtown Alpena. The plaza would serve as a focal point in the community, designed to accommodate events and public gatherings. Read more…

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Benton Harbor – population 10,038

Square 1: Coming Together at City Center

Dwight Mitchell City Center Park serves as the primary public green and community gathering space for downtown Benton Harbor. It’s the symbolic center of the city, both by virtue of its location in the center of the historic downtown, and by its ability to draw people to a variety of special events held there. Read more…

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Berkley – population 10,038

Experimenting with Place

 In an effort to engage the community in placemaking at the Robina and Twelve Mile intersection, the city decided to initiate a short-term planning process and tactical placemaking pop-up project during the Berkley Art Bash, an annual art fair in downtown Berkley.
 Read more…

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Boyne City – population 3,735

Boyne on the Water

Boyne City has a successful downtown and it is a community that embraces its cultural resources, from history to art. It also has beautiful natural resources. Community leaders identified further room for improvement in linking these assets and creating more usable public space along the lakefront. Read more…

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Cadillac – population 10,355

Heritage Plaza

The “Heritage Plaza” concept envisions the site as a year-round destination and hub of downtown, hosting seasonal events and providing an attractive connection between the Mitchell Street businesses and Lake Cadillac. Read more…

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Download Report of Cadillac’s PlacePlan Experience

Dearborn – population 98,153

Transit-oriented Development

The site would serve as a focal point in the community, designed to support local and regional commuter needs, establish connectivity between attractions and locations of interest within Dearborn, and complement the redevelopment of a vibrant downtown space. Read more…

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Detroit – population 713,777

Vernor Crossing

The Southwest Detroit project engaged neighborhood residents, businesses, and community organizations in developing concepts for the reuse of a vacant, city-owned brownfield at the intersection of Vernor and Livernois. Read more…

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Farmington / Farmington Hills – population 90,112

Reimagining the 10 Mile/Orchard Lake Intersection

Farmington and Farmington Hills are working with residents and business owners around the intersection of Orchard Lake and Ten Mile Road to rethink this area’s relationship to the surrounding neighborhoods. Read more …

Flint –  population 102,434

Grand Traverse Greenway

The Grand Traverse Greenway is a 3-mile-long former CSX railroad line that the City of Flint has been working to acquire and convert to a bike/walk trail with support from MDNR and MDOT. Read more…

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Holland – population 33,051

Food Innovation District

The Holland project engaged downtown business owners as well as local food producers, distributors, and buyers from around the area to examine the Western Gateway area around the farmers market and civic center building. Read more…

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Jackson – population 33,534

Downtown Jackson Alleyway

The Jackson project used input from residents and business owners at multiple community meetings to develop concepts for the four-block downtown alleyway running from the farmers’ market to the transit center. Read more…

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Kalamazoo – population 74,262

Connecting the Dots of Sustainable Mobility, Health, and Wellness

The plan looks at balancing biking, walking, transit, and traffic options in the Edison Neighborhood, and especially at the role of Portage Street as a gateway to the neighborhood and downtown. Read more…

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Lathrup Village – population 4,075

EnLiVen Lathrup

Lathrup Village city leaders worked with the League and area residents to improve and enLiVen a key part of their community. The attractive historic homes that make up the city’s intimate neighborhoods stand in stark contrast to Southfield Road – a major suburban highway that slices the community in half. Read more…

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Marquette – population 21,355

Reimagining Baraga Avenue

The Marquette project, which involved multiple community meetings and input from residents and business owners, focused on the 100 block of Baraga Avenue in downtown Marquette, between Third Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. Read more…

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Midland – population 21,355

Farmer’s Market

The Midland PlacePlans project brought national experts to the city to engage city staff, farmers market vendors, and other community leaders in a discussion of strategic opportunities for the popular market. Read more…

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Monroe – population 20,733

HEART OF Monroe: Connecting the Historic, Entertainment, Arts, Residential, and Theater Centers

Monroe is working to convert an underutilized alley into a pedestrian connector to unify the downtown area. An inviting design recognizing the community’s history and culture would create an attractive connection between museums, restaurants, retail, parking areas, and more.  Read more…

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Niles – population 11,600

Turn the Corner

Niles is seeking support to understand development opportunities on two key sites along the Saint Joseph River, as well as area planning to link these developments and existing waterfront amenities to the city’s successful Main Street district. Read more…

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Saginaw – population 51,508

Asset Inventory and Strategic Prioritization

League staff facilitated development of a “shared strategy” to prioritize possible placemaking activities in the riverfront area and where the community should commit its limited resources. Read more…

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Sault Sainte Marie – population 14,144

Moloney Alley

Located in the heart of downtown, Moloney Alley would serve as a focal point in the community, acting as a bridge between the Soo Locks tourist attractions and more traditional downtown uses. Read more…

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Traverse City – population 14,674

City Lot

Traverse City’s West Front Street district has already begun a positive transformation with the recent streetscape project. A new design plan for a vacant city-owned parcel along Kids Creek will help transform the site into a true community space, providing both a focal point and a connection to downtown. Read more…

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Utica – population 4,757

Downtown Business Passport

Simple tactics, like a passport and shuttle bus, can benefit local shopping any time of the year. This summer, the League worked with the city of Utica to promote walkability and small business shopping during their annual Riverwalk Festival. Read more…

Download Walkability Report