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Dr. Soji Adelaja is the John A. Hannah Professor in Land Policy at Michigan State University (MSU) and is the founder and director of the MSU Land Policy Institute.  His faculty appointment is in the department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.  Until April of 2011, he served as the Director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University, which he founded in 2006; as Co-Director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded People and Land Initiative (PAL); and as the Director of Michigan Higher Education Land Policy Consortium (MIHELP) which he founded in 2005.  Dr. Adelaja is now spearheading new initiatives in international land use.  An eclectic scholar and team-builder, his research and outreach programs span adelajaa variety of areas, including the areas of land use, land policy, renewable energy, metropolitan growth strategies, both place science and prosperity science, regional prosperity strategies and growth modeling in the New Economy, and political economy modeling.



andersonDr. Bill Anderson was the founding director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries, serving in the cabinets of Governors John Engler and Jennifer Granholm. The department carried the flag for cultural economic development encouraging cultural organizations and communities to strategically deploy their cultural resources to spur economic growth. Anderson has chaired numerous economic development organizations and facilitated the development strategic plans for many organizations. He is the author/editor of nine books.

colettaCarol Coletta is president of Coletta & Company, a consulting firm leading the start-up of ArtPlace, a new initiative to spark creative placemaking across America. For the past six years, she was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities. In addition, Coletta served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation. For 10 years, she was the host and producer of the nationally syndicated public radio show Smart City. Coletta was a Knight Fellow in Community Building for 2003 at the University of Miami, School of Architecture. In 2010, she was named Honorary Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. In 2008, she was named one of the world’s 50 most important urban experts by a leading European think tank and as one of the top 50 urban thinkers of all time by readers of

leinbergerChristopher Leinberger, a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balances business realities with social and environmental issues. He is a professor and founding director of the Graduate Real Estate Development Program at the University of Michigan; visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC., founding partner of Arcadia Land Company, a new urbanism, transit-oriented development and consulting firm, and president of Locus, Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors. Leinberger is the author of The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream,as well as the Strategic Planning for Real Estate Companies. He has written for numberous publications, such as the Atlantic Monthly and Urban Land magazine. He has been profiled by CNN, National Public Radio, Infrastructurist, the Washington Post, and numerous other broadcast, web, and print media. In 2009, Leinberger was voted one of the “Top 100 Urban Thinkers” in a poll conducted by Planetizen, the international urban planning and architecture website. 

burdenDan Burden, executive director and co-founder of The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, is an internationally recognized authority on livable and sustainable communities, healthy streets, traffic calming, and bicycle and pedestrian programs. Burden has more than 35 years of experience in creating livable communities with a focus on active transportation. He served for 16 years as the first state bicycle and edestrian coordinator in the United States with the Florida Department of Transportation (1980-1996)—this program became a model for other statewide programs. Burden has worked with 3,000 communities to improve the built environment. Learn more at

gilmartinDan Gilmartin serves as the executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, the state’s association of communities formed in 1899. He directs the League’s programming, policy development, and member services. Gilmartin previously served as the League’s deputy director, and as the organization’s lead lobbyist in Lansing and in Washington. Through his work on behalf of municipalities, Gilmartin is recognized as a statewide leader in the fields of urban revitalization, local government reform, and transportation policy. Recognizing that communities are at the core of the economic turnaround of Michigan, he is a passionate leader for making sure we create vibrant creative communities for the future, not the past. In 2010, Gilmartin added radio talk show host to his resume as host of The Prosperity Agenda on News/Talk 760 WJR, which is Michigan’s highest-rated talk station that can be heard throughout the Midwest and Canada. The show focuses on the critical importance that strong and vibrant communities must play if Michigan is to improve its economic outlook in the 21st century economy.

vandermeulenJoe Vandermeulen is the executive director of the Land Information Access Association (LIAA), a non-profit community service organization located in Traverse City. LIAA was formed 18 years ago to increase civic engagement in community development and resource management through professional planning practices and the application of advanced information technologies. Trained as a welder, VanderMeulen has been a sheet metal worker, a journalist, a hydrogeologist, and a science advisor to the Michigan Legislature (Science & Technology Division Director, Legislative Service Bureau). He holds a BA in English and creative writing as well as a BA and MS in earth science and hydrogeology from Western Michigan University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy winning the Ayers Brinser Award for his research in land-use policy and the applications of geographic information systems.

glazerLou Glazer is president and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc. (MFI), a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world-class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations. Its two latest reports are:  “Michigan’s Transition to a Knowledge-Based Economy,” which provides a progress report on how well Michigan is positioned to succeed in a flattening world. And “Young Talent in the Great Lakes,” an analysis of Michigan’s success in retaining and attracting college educated millennials. Prior to joing MFI, Glazer served as deputy director of the Michigan Department of Commerce during the Blanchard administration. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.

norquistJohn Norquist is the president of Congress for the New Urbanism.  His work promoting New Urbanism as an alternative to sprawl and antidote to sprawl’s social and environmental problems draws on his experience as a big-city mayor and prominent participant in national discussions on urban design and school reform. Norquist was the mayor of Milwaukee from 1988-2004. Under his leadership, Milwaukee experienced a decline in poverty, saw a boom in new downtown housing, and became a leading center of education and welfare reform. In naming Milwaukee America’s Most-Underrated City in 2001, the Utne Reader said Norquist “understands what makes cities work as well as anyone in America.” Governing magazine named him Public Official of the Year in 1998. He is the author of The Wealth of Cities (Addison-Wesley, 1998), and has taught courses in urban planning and development at the University of Chicago, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

cooleyPhillip Cooley is a part owner of Slows Bar B Q and a general contractor with O’Connor Development. He serves on the board of Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit, Greening of Detroit, Roosevelt Park Conservancy, Center for Community Based Enterprise, and The Heidelberg Project. Cooley is also on the advisory board of ACLU of Southeastern Michigan and currently co-chairs the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force for the DetroitWorks project. “I’m fortunate to have a successful business and tremendous partners and staff. This allows me to be in the community as a volunteer, helping to design and build public spaces, helping others start small businesses, and working towards creating a just and sustainable Detroit.” Cooley lives in Detroit.

fowlerRob Fowler is the president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). Formed in 1969 and with over 10,000 members, SBAM is the largest state-based organization in the U.S., focused specifically on the interests of small businesses. SBAM has been on the forefront of calling for public policies that support the creation and growth of innovative entrepreneurs in the state. SBAM’s Foundation, the Small Business Foundation of Michigan, is the sponsor of the Annual Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card ( Fowler has been a member of Governor Granholm’s Council of Economic Advisors and served as a member of Governor Snyder’s Economic Development Transition Team.

cleveyMark H. Clevey is a veteran of the United State Air Force, an honors college graduate, and holds a masters degree in public administration from Western Michigan University. He holds an advanced business counselor certificate from the Michigan SBDC and an economic gardening practitioners certificate from the Edward Lowe Foundation. Clevey has worked on behalf of entrepreneurship in Michigan for over 30 years in the private, educational and public sectors. Previously, he served as the executive director of SBAM’s Foundation and SBAM’s vice president for entrepreneurship. Clevey is currently the primary author of SBAM’s Annual Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card and SBAM’s Economic Gardening and Entrepreneurship Consultant.

wyckoffMark Wyckoff is widely considered an expert on Michigan land use law and on statewide land use trends and land use policy. He is a frequent workshop and conference speaker, and is widely consulted on pending legislative issues by a wide range of stakeholder groups, including state legislators and nonprofit advocacy organizations. Wyckoff served with associates of Public Sector Consultants as staff to the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council in 2003. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, director of the Planning and Zoning Center at Michigan State University, and senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute.


Book Review - Better! Cities & Towns, 7/25/12
Dan Gilmartin Discusses What Works to Advance Placemaking Initiatives - Place Matters, 12/8/11
Placemaking on That Michigan Radio Show - Prima Civitas Foundation, 12/10/11
Congress for the New Urbanism Praises Book - CNU, 11/30/11
Michigan Cities Bet Their Future on Placemaking - DC.Streets, 11/28/11
Riverfront Rebirth Proves What's Possible in Detroit - Detroit News, 11/24/11
Planetzen's Top 10 Books of 2012 - Planetizen, 11/21/11
Planetizen's Top 10 Books for 2012 Calls Economics of Place "Noteworthy" - EoP, 11/21/11
Forget Taxes and Regulations, Michigan Must Build It so They'll Come - Detroit Free Press, 11/20/11
Gilmartin Discusses Placemaking on Bright Sides TV - YouTube, 11/10/11
MI Gov. Rick Snyder on "Economics of Place" - EoP, 11/5/11
Detroit to Lead Nation as Hotel Industry Rebounds - USA Today, 10/28/11
Q&A with League on Building Communities for People - Grand Rapids Press, 10/4/11
Economics of Place Subject of WJR Prosperity Agenda - MML, 10/26/11