Progress in the Mitten State

Quicken Loans

Legislators gather at Quicken Loans in Detroit

Yesterday a bi-partisan group of over 20 state legislators accepted the Michigan Municipal League’s invitation to meet at Quicken Loans HQ in downtown Detroit to discuss talent and place. Noted economist Joe Cortwright detailed the linkages between talent attraction and economic progress and the preeminent role that quality cities play in the equation. Thriving urban cores and walkable, energetic suburbs are a region’s best assets when it comes to wooing a talented workforce. Locating where talented workers live is outpacing taxes and regulations when it comes to where businesses are locating.  The research is unassailable.

Brian Calley

LG Calley to MML Board of Trustees in 2012

Today, Michigan’s Lt. Governor Brian Calley stated that when it comes to economic development, “Its not about taxes, its not about regulation, its about talent.” His comments were part of the Governor’s 15th Annual Economic Summit in Detroit.

Last week my friend and colleague on the state’s Sense of Place Council Rob Fowler, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), outlined what he calls the three sides of the economic triangle:

  • Business needs talent.
  • Talent wants place.
  • Place needs business.

These three occurrences, when taken together, mark a real change in the tenor of conversation around strategies for building strong economies. Some may even go as far as to call this phenomenon The Economics of Place. 🙂

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Whatever you call it, I believe that it is a positive sign for Michigan and a precursor to some important policy changes in our state. Changes that recognize the powerful inter dependence between great places to live and thriving economies.

Keep it coming!