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Advocacy Blue Arrows

Prosperity Agenda
Public Policies for a Prosperous Michigan
Page 2

Where does prosperity happen?

Increasingly, prosperity is happening in communities/places where high concentrations of college-educated, talented and creative people live. These people have skill sets that are transferable
geographically. They can choose to live, work, and play pretty much wherever they want. Today, in large numbers they are choosing places such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Denver, Charlotte, Dallas, Austin and other communities that—because of certain public policies—offer the lifestyle, attributes and amenities they seek. The public policies adopted by these prospering cities have created places that are needed more in today’s Michigan.

What do prospering places offer that make them attractive?

While no two communities are the same—Austin is as different from Chicago historically and culturally as Texas swing is from Chicago blues—these and other prospering cities do offer a menu of lifestyle attributes attractive to talented, educated people. Public policies adopted by those communities and their states have created:

  • Significant public transit systems (buses, light-rail, commuter rail, passenger rail) and other alternatives to driving including extensive networks of bike lanes, running and walking trails.

  • Vibrant downtowns and neighborhoods where people live, learn, work, play, and shop in close
    proximity. In places where public policies have fostered “walkable urbanism,” driving a car is simply unnecessary.

  • Mixed-use developments, where buildings tend to go up instead of out and where people can live, work, and shop, often under the same roof.

  • Thriving entertainment and cultural attractions—so-called “third places” such as restaurants, cafes, and bars where people hang out to socialize, dance, access the Internet, read or even do a little work, art and historical museums, libraries, theaters, and nightclubs for movies, plays, and live music.

  • Green spaces with parks, trails, gardens and fountains—perfect respites for a couple’s picnic, to take the kids to play, or to walk the dog.

  • Economic development initiatives that are growing local economies by one, two and three jobs through strategies such as economic gardening and support for entrepreneurs.

We all know prosperity when we see it. Prospering states and communities have relatively low unemployment, high levels of personal income, significant commercial and residential investments, and growing populations…all needed in today’s Michigan.

If Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, and Boston—can you say, snowy and cold!—can have these places, Michigan can too. The public policies proposed in the Prosperity Agenda can help us create them.


 

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