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, and displays itself in as many shapes, sizes and colors as a community can imagine.

The stories run the gamut from marketing campaigns and municipal projects, to special events and recreational opportunities. Some were large-scale efforts involving significant funds and long-range planning. Others were small ideas that led to big impacts. Some were organized strategies in a larger vision. In other cases, someone simply wanted to launch a business or improve a community asset that became part of a larger movement – maybe without even realizing that what they were doing was part of this thing we call “placemaking.”

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 as well as case-specific examples of Public Policies and Programs, Legislation, Action Initiatives, Community Partnerships, and Economic Drivers that can facilitate similar efforts.

Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities is available for purchase here.