Advocacy Blue Arrows


Michigan Prosperity Agenda: Michigan cities and downtown centers experiencing population growth despite challenges

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 focus on the concept of placemaking. To learn more about placemaking visit 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

THIS MONTH’S SHOW airs at 7 p.m. July 24 on News/Talk 760 WJR, and you can also listen now by clicking the links below. Experts discuss what is driving people to choose to live in Michigan’s largest cities’ and downtown centers despite the challenges facing many of these communities. Read more about the placemaking concept here at

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.

- Dan Gilmartin explains this month’s show. (51 seconds)

Natalie Burg

Natalie Burg 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, Model D and Ann Arbor’s Concentrate. She has written extensively about the growing demand for urban lifestyle living. Model D recently published a special report that focused on the demographic trends of urban living in several of Michigan’s largest cities, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Lansing.

- Natalie Burg discusses some of the stories she’s written that shows what individuals are doing to turn neighborhoods into friendly, close-nit communities. (7:12)


Ilana Preuss

Ilana Preuss is Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America. She is a leading public voice for smart growth development working to strengthen federal and state policies on smart growth issues. She offers a national perspective on the move to live in downtown centers and the fiscal benefits of this growth.

- Schulz explains the Complete Streets concept and how streets are being designed to accommodate people of all ages and mobility. (10 minutes)



David Allen

David Allen is the Chief Market Analyst for the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA) and has worked in the housing industry since 1999. MSHDA is getting a lot of praise for helping make downtowns like Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids more appealing as places where young people want to live.

- The role of universities and colleges is paramount to attracting talent to downtown centers along with numerous other factors, Allen explains. (9:58)


John Hieftje

John Hieftje has served as the mayor of Ann Arbor since 2000. Ann Arbor is one of the Michigan cities experiencing an influx of people moving to downtown areas and has experienced a 30 percent growth in downtown population in the past decade.

- Hieftje explains that museums, events, walkability, bikeability, physical design and cultural amenities are just a few of the things Ann Arbor uses to attract and retain talent and make its community and downtown vibrant. (9:30)


June. 26, 2013:Complete Streets – Designing roadways to accommodate all users, not just motorists

May. 22, 2013:Engaging citizens is vital to creating prosperous communities

Apr. 24, 2013: Repurposing Property Through Private and Public Partnerships to Revitalize Communities

Mar. 27, 2013: Town-Gown Partnerships Between Cities and Universities Helping to Move State Forward

Feb. 27, 2013: Retiring Baby Boomers Provide Opportunity to Communities

Jan. 23, 2013: Aging in Place

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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