Get Adobe Flash player
Partnership for PLACE An Agenda for a Competitive 21st Century Michigan O n October 10, 2013, Republican and Democratic state lawmakers joined with local government leaders to propose bold new policies to fix Michigan’s archaic and broken municipal finance system and end decades of disinvestment in the state’s most important economic areas. At a Lansing news conference, they proposed a set of policy changes in a plan called the “Partnership for Place: An Agenda for a Competitive 21st Century Michigan.” The plan advances new ways to end a decade of funding cuts to Michigan cities, to protect future funding for local services from raids by the Legislature, and to create the types of places across the state where economies can prosper in today’s global economy. Thriving communities are a key to Michigan’s long-term success and sustainability. If we are going to compete globally in the 21st century, then it is critical to create communities that can attract and retain talent and enterprise. This policy agenda proposes a commitment of action in partnership between the state and its municipalities that will facilitate Michigan’s economic growth and allow for the development of places to provide key services and amenities that contribute to a high quality of life. It focuses on a more regional approach to service delivery, which would change the way services are provided, how resources are dedicated, and how systems are supported. This policy agenda proposes actions that will re-establish a partnership for prosperity in four key areas: Funding for the Future – Provide appropriate funds and tools for municipalities to operate efficiently and work regionally in order to succeed globally. 6 THE REVIEW JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 Michigan in Motion – Shift from vehicle-based investment to alternative modes of transportation that accommodate all users. Place for Talent – Attract and retain talented workers through strategic placemaking policies. Strength in Structure – Invest in smart, sustainable infrastructure and development that optimizes resources and maximizes outcomes. It should be noted that all of the policy solutions are not created equal. The League recognizes that in order for some of these policy actions to realize the most benefit, basic service needs must be met first. It brings to mind Maslow’s Triangle, which was introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943 in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow depicts human motivation through a hierarchical chart of human needs, which proceed from the basic to the more complex. According to Maslow, basic physiological needs such as food and water come first, followed by safety and so on, and he suggests that you cannot move to the next level without satisfying the previous set of needs. Unmet basic needs means we cannot proceed to those things that bring true meaning and satisfaction in life such as friendship, love, and the creative expression of “self.” We can depict our policy proposals in the same manner, giving a visual depiction of how critical and essential it is to obtain the basic policy changes in order for communities to be able to move to the higher “levels” to reach the point of being fully sustainable places. The policy recommendations can be placed into a triangle of their own—a Hierarchy of Proposals for Sustainable Places.