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Strong Partnerships, Great Placemaking

“Place needs business. Business needs talent. Talent wants place.”

This is the unofficial mantra of the Sense of Place Council (SoP). The SoP is a collection of organizations and interest groups in Michigan that organize to accelerate place based strategies to improve quality of life and economic conditions.

Members of the coalition come from statewide organizations in business, recreation, housing, city planning, real estate, state agencies and other areas. The council provides a regular forum for sharing innovative practices, noodling on public policy and celebrating successes.

One of our big achievements is the Public Spaces Community Places program which provides a crowdfunding platform and matching funds for local placemaking projects in cities and villages. The program is a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, but the roots are in the work of the council. The projects are a clear example of our strategy to draw business, talent and place together. Public Spaces Community Places projects include:

  • Public Plaza & Green Space Development
  • Access to Public Amenities
  • Farmer’s Markets, Community Kitchens, Pop-Up Retail/Incubator Space
  • Alley Rehabilitation
  • Any other place based (or public space improvement) project

The current funding success ratio for the 52 identified projects is a whopping 98%, with over $1.7 million coming via crowdfunding and another $1.4 million via matching grants from MEDC and MSHDA. None of the projects are large enough by themselves to change the world, but their cumulative effect is paying dividends across the state.

So what is the next big thing in city building? Maybe it is a million little things.

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