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Advocacy Blue Arrows

Prosperity Agenda
Public Policies for a Prosperous Michigan
Page 6

Prosperity Policy: Promote sustainable development, green initiatives and cultural economic development

The terms sustainable development, cultural economic development, and green initiatives may not be familiar to most people, but they are as critically important and relevant to Michigan’s future prosperity as manufacturing was to our past.

Each term reflects contemporary development practices and approaches aimed at restoring prosperity to existing communities. They help communities create the types of places where young, college educated, talented and creative people are choosing to live. Equally important, they help create communities that do a much better job of protecting the environment and maximizing tax funds and existing infrastructure so current and future needs can be met.

Cultural economic development is how communities grow jobs, tourism, and tax revenues through museums, art galleries, libraries, cultural heritage, live music halls and theaters. Educated, talented and creative people—young and old—flock to places that offer these types of attractions. Michigan is well positioned to take better economic development advantage of these attributes.

Sustainable development holds that a community should do as little damage as possible to the planet and should maximize the use of existing resources and infrastructure. An example is mixed-use development—buildings that go up instead of out and combine multiple uses under the same roof: residential, commercial, and retail. In addition to being attractive to younger people and the growing population of empty nesters, these types of developments allow communities to concentrate services and existing infrastructure more affordably. In short, they cost less to operate and maintain.

Here are some common elements of sustainable development and green initiatives:

  • Development in areas with existing infrastructure that is under utilized. This reduces sprawl.

  • Mixed-use development with retail, residential, and commercial in the same buildings.
    Projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled.

  • Establishing and expanding public transit (buses, light rail, commuter rail, passenger rail, trolley lines, carpooling).

  • Establishing and expanding bike lanes, walking and running trails.

  • Developments and redevelopments with sustainable design principles, such as green building retrofits (high energy efficiency, lower water consumption).

Policy Action: The Legislature and governor must support laws that promote sustainable development, green initiatives, and cultural economic development.


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