Advocacy Blue Arrows

SHOW 7, July 28, 2010: Michigan Prosperity Agenda: Economic Gardening

We discussed economic gardening – an economic development strategy encouraging the growth of existing companies and the creation of an environment that encourages entrepreneurs. As Michigan focuses on transitioning from a manufacturing based economy to a more knowledge based economy, a new approach is critical. Traditional economic development efforts have focused on drawing companies to an area with incentives. Economic gardening encourages growth by providing information and assistance to companies as they grow and by establishing the kinds of communities where people want to live, work and play. Prosperity Agenda host Dan Gilmartin is joined by co-host Rick Haglund, a long-time Michigan reporter and columnist. Guests include Urban Planner Toni Griffin; Marja Winters, Deputy Director at the City of Detroit; Bill Rustem, co-director of the People and Land Initiative; and Barbara Fails, Ph.D., Associate Director and Associate Professor for Entrepreneurial Communities, Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University.

Listen to the full show from July 28, 2010
(length - 37:24)

Dan Gilmartin

Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, explains the large population losses experienced in some of Michigan’s largest cities and what community leaders are now trying to do to improve their cities.

Gilmartin explains the concept of economic gardening and how other cities across the nation are using it to prosper.
(length - 1:29)

Rick Haglund

Rick Haglund has had a distinguished career covering Michigan business, economics and government at newspapers throughout the state. Most recently, at Booth Newspapers he wrote a statewide business column and was one of only three such columnists (the other two are at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News) in Michigan. He also covered the auto industry and Michigan's economy extensively. He wrote an automotive blog for Booth's Web site, and currently writes his own blog, He currently writes freelance for the Grand Rapids Press, Crain's Michigan Business, Detroit Legal News, The Center for Michigan, Dome magazine and others. Read his recent article about economic gardening posted statewide on

Haglund talks about how economic gardening is working in towns such as Littleton, Colo.
(length - 7:39)

Toni Griffin & Marja Winters

Toni Griffin has built an impressive twenty-year career in both the public and private sectors, combining the practice of architecture, urban design and planning with the execution of innovative, large-scale, mixed-use urban redevelopment projects, and citywide and neighborhood planning strategies. She is a Harvard University Professor and was recently hired to lead the right sizing of the city of Detroit.

Marja Winters currently serves as Deputy Director of the Planning and Development Department for the City of Detroit. She grew up on Detroit's west side and will partner with Toni Griffin on redevelopment efforts in the city.

Toni and Marja discuss what is in store for the city of Detroit as they embark on what Time Magazine has called “what might be the most ambitious urban makeover in American history.”
(length - 10:55)

Bill Rustem

Bill Rustem is co-director of the People and Land Initiative, a grant-making program at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He is an owner, president and chief executive officer of Public Sector Consultants in Lansing.  Before joining the firm, Rustem was an advisor to Gov. William G. Milliken. He is an adjunct professor in three colleges at Michigan State University.

Rustem’s organization is working on creating the kinds of places where young people want to live and create new ideas and businesses. The focus is on building businesses from the ground up. (length - 8:59)

Barbara Fails

Barbara Fails, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Associate Director for Entrepreneurial Communities, Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University. Barb directs the Creating Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) initiative at MSU that provides community coaching and programmatic support to create entrepreneurial development systems. She co-led a pilot Economic Gardening project in two Michigan rural communities, developed the Michigan Energizing Entrepreneurs (e2) Institute and launched the mid Michigan Innovative Club for entrepreneurs (ICE).

There’s a lot more energy in Michigan than people probably realize. She explains that entrepreneurs create jobs and it takes an entire community to nurture startup companies and help grow entrepreneurs.

(length - 7:16)

<Back to Prosperity Agenda main page




MML Home :: League Services :: Advocacy :: Training/Events :: Resources :: Insurance :: Legal :: Classifieds :: Links :: About MML :: Privacy :: Webmaster
Michigan Municipal League :: 1675 Green Road, Ann Arbor MI, 48105 :: 734.662.3246 l 800.653.2483

MML Home Page home Coronavirus Resources
Podcast League208