Advocacy Blue Arrows


Michigan Prosperity Agenda: Retiring Baby Boomers Provide Opportunity to Communities

Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan


The Michigan Prosperity Agenda is a monthly radio show that challenges listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play by creating vibrant and prosperous local communities. It has aired on News/Talk 760 WJR at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month since 2010.

The hour-long radio program is hosted by Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League (the League). The show is sponsored by the League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The show’s topics center around the concept of placemaking. To learn more about placemaking go to Dan’s blog: The Economics of Place, the state'snew placemaking resources website, and check out our book, The Economics of Place: The Value of Building Communities Around People, available on

OUR NEXT SHOW airs at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 on News/Talk 760 WJR, but you can listen now by clicking the links below. We’ll discuss retiring baby boomers and the unprecedented opportunity they bring to cities and downtowns ready to accommodate them. Several Michigan communities are already recognized for meeting this challenge and becoming thriving environments for retirees.

View past radio shows here.

Listen to the full show: (37:51)


Dan Gilmartin

Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.

Listen to Dan explain what this show is about: (1:01)


Natalie Burg, Co-host

Natalie Burg Vial is a writer and owner of Vial Half Full Communications. She is news editor for Lansing’s Capital Gains and a regular contributor to the Ann Arbor Observer, Metromode and Ann Arbor’s Concentrate. She has written extensively about the growing demand for urban lifestyle living and reports that Baby Boomers are fueling this trend, not just millennials.

Listen to Natalie explain how she is a millennial but says reporters like her need to write about Baby Boomers because they are the "bull in the China shop.": 7:11)


Bill Vajda, Marquette city manager

Bill Vajda says serving as the City Manager of Marquette is his “dream job,” and he is proud of the opportunity to serve his hometown. Marquette – a city that averages 141 inches of snow per year – has consistently been ranked as one of the top places to retire in the nation. Vajda talks about how this community is accommodating those considering retiring there.

Listen to Bill explain how building a strong community for people of all ages is much easier to do when you have people passionate about their city. Not all retirees head to Florida to be snow birds: (9:57)

Barbara Spreitzer-Berent, volunteer state coordinator for Health and Supportive Services
AARP Michigan

Barbara Spreitzer-Berent is an urban planner and gerontologist who serves as Volunteer State Coordinator for Health and Supportive Services for AARP Michigan. AARP and the World Health Organization launched a network to help communities create initiatives to make neighborhoods age-friendly in seven states including Michigan. She talks about the results of this project and about AARP Michigan’s Age Friendly Communities Conference in February.

Listen to Barbara explain why many Baby Boomers want to remain in the places where they raised their families and what that means for communities: (10:02)


Joe Borgstrom, director of the Downtown and Community Services Division
Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA)

Joe Borgstrom, Director of the Downtown and Community Services Division for the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA), talks about a 2012 statewide study conducted by the organization about seniors and there reasons for staying in Michigan for retirement. He discusses MSHDA’s response to that survey.

Listen to Joe explain why millennials and Baby Boomers really want the same things - walkable communities with cultural activities and transit: (9:40)


Dec. 26, 2012: Placemaking in Michigan – A Year in Review

Nov. 26, 2012: What is Placemaking and What is MSHDA’s Role in It?

Oct. 24, 2012: Embracing Green Technology in Neighborhood Revitalization

Sept. 26, 2012: Entrepreneurs are Key to Economic Turnaround

August 22, 2012: The MIplace Partnership Initiative Improving Cities and Neighborhoods

July 25, 2012: Arts and Culture Important to Placemaking

June 27, 2012: Entrepreneurs Key to Thriving Michigan Communities

May 23, 2012: Attracting Talent Key to Michigan's Future

April 25, 2012: How Do We Bring it Back to Michigan?

March 28, 2012: Vibrant Michigan Downtowns Good for Business

Feb. 18, 2012: Making Our State More Sustainable

Jan. 25, 2012: The Benefits of Federal Funding for Neighborhood Stabilization

Dec. 29, 2011: The Year in Review

Nov. 27, 2011: Transportation in the State and the Role it Plays in Michigan's Future Economic Prosperity

Oct. 26, 2011: League’s Recently Released Book Emphasizes Quality of Place to Michigan’s Economic Prosperity

Sept. 26, 2011: How will Michigan’s foreclosure crisis impact the state’s future prosperity

August 24, 2011: League Releasing Book Emphasizing Quality of Place

July 27, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

June 22, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

May 25, 2011: Why Transit Matter's to Michigan's Future Prosperity

April 27, 2011: Why Place Matters to Michigan's Future Prosperity

Mar. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and What it Means for Michigan

Feb. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and the Potential Impact on Michigan Cities

Jan 26, 2011: Civic Engagement and Getting People Involved in the Community

Dec 23, 2010: Why Higher Education is Among Main Pillars for Building Michigan's Future

Nov 24, 2010: New Leadership and the Impact on Jobs, Education and Quality of Life

Oct 20, 2010: Michigan Governor Candidates Talk Cities

Sept 23, 2010: Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

Aug 25, 2010: Green Initiatives

July 28, 2010: Economic Gardening

June 23, 2010: Rightsizing Cities

May 26, 2010: Attracting and Retaining Talented Young People

Apr 28, 2010: The New Urban Neighborhood

Mar 24, 2010: Arts, Entertainment and Culture

Feb 24, 2010: Talking Transit

Jan 27, 2010: Making a Better Michigan





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