Advocacy Blue Arrows


Michigan Prosperity Agenda: A Look at Making Walkable, Pedestrian-Friendly Communities in Michigan

Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Walking in many cities means using sidewalks to get to the mailbox or corner store, but only after crossing numerous streets and dodging inattentive motorists. Riding a bike on crowded roads can be unsafe and nerve-wracking.

It’s a lot different living in a truly walkable city designed to provide a safe way to get around for everyone. Projects such as Living Streets encourage multiple modes of transportation, whether that’s driving a car, riding a bike, taking a bus or walking. They build community by bringing people together and helping shape an area’s identity into one that’s people-friendly, no matter how residents, workers and visitors are getting around. On the most recent Prosperity Agenda we talk to several people involved in walkable cities projects and find out more about how they’re making our cities more attractive and bike- and pedestrian-friendly. This month’s guests are international walkability guru Dan Burden, director of innovation and inspiration for Blue Zones; Mary Beth Graebert of Michigan State University; and Rebekah Kik of the city of Kalamazoo; and co-host Michael Jackman, managing editor of the Metro Times in Detroit.

THIS MONTH’S SHOW airs at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 on News/Talk 760 WJR, and you can listen by clicking the links below. Listen as we talk about the upcoming conference and how to build better Michigan communities.

View past radio shows here.

Listen to the full show: (37:50)


Dan Gilmartin

Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, explains that the Prosperity Agenda radio show is about challenging listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play. Gilmartin said having vibrant and prosperous local communities is a key factor.

- Dan Gilmartin explains this month’s show. (1:05)


Michael Jackman

Jackman, managing editor for the Detroit Metro Times, covers many issues in Detroit, including ways people are working to make Detroit more attractive to residents and businesses. He wrote an excellent column about a recent George Washington University School of Business report on walkability. You can read his piece here. He also talks about the recent PlacePlans project involving Southwest Detroit’s Vernor Crossing.

- Living most of his life in urban centers, Jackman discusses what he likes about walkable areas and some of the pieces he’s written regarding pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in and around Detroit

Chuck Marohn

Dan Burden

Dan Burden is a visionary, innovator and source of inspiration and collaboration in the area of creating walkable, livable and sustainable communities. He is the director of innovation and inspiration for Blue Zones. He was named as one of the six most important civic innovators in the world by Time magazine in 2001. Dan is a frequent visitor to Michigan and talks about his work in Michigan cities.

- Burden discusses the concept of road diets and how reducing the number of traffic lanes can actually move vehicles through a community more quickly while also improving pedestrian safety. Listen to learn how this is possible. (9:59)

Marcus Peccia

Mary Beth Graebert

Mary Beth Graebert has been with the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute since its start as a program in 2004. Recently, she and her research colleagues conducted a study to analyze the impacts of place-based elements, such as walkability and mixed-used developments, on property values in six Michigan cities and five Midwest cities. You can read the report here. She talks about the study’s findings.

- Graebert discusses how connectivity being an essential element of any city for people of all ages. Hear some of the cities doing a great job with connectivity. (9:01)

Joe Borgstrom

Rebekah Kik

Rebekah Kik is city planner for the city of Kalamazoo, where she has been active in completing the city’s PlacePlans document and in a number of walkability initiatives underway in Kalamazoo. She talks about the evolution of the city’s downtown mall, which used to be pedestrian-only, but now allows cars and work to make the community more accessible to people with disabilities.

- Kalamazoo is increasingly being recognized for its efforts in becoming a highly walkable city. Kik explains the progress, setbacks and she a key one-word tip for other communities looking to become more people-friendly. (10:47)


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July 22, 2015: Festivals Helping Create Sense of Place in Our Communities

June 24, 2015: Michigan is Redeveloping its Way to Economic Vibrancy

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March 25, 2015: A Conversation with Governor Snyder about Proposal 1 Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Feb 25, 2015: What Made You Fall in Love with Your Michigan Community?

Jan 28, 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent Vital to Michigan’s Future

Dec 29, 2014: Strong Town Strength Test

Nov 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Efforts Helping to Move Michigan Forward

Oct 22, 2014: Placemaking Stories Detailed in New League Book

Sept 24, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

Aug 27, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

July 23, 2014: What We Can Do to Make Michigan More Immigrant-Friendly

June 25, 2014: Placemaking and Michigan's Aging Population

May 28, 2014: A Conversation from the National Main Streets Conference in Detroit!

April 23, 2014: Revenue Sharing and the Importance of Investing in Communities

Mar 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Movement; Making a Better Michigan

Feb 26, 2014:Placemaking is a vital part of making our state prosperous again

Jan. 22, 2014:Jobs, jobs and more jobs

Dec. 20, 2013:“PlacePlans” effort taking hold and improving communities across the state

Nov. 27, 2013:The National Media’s Perspective on What is Happening in Detroit

Oct. 23, 2013:The League’s efforts toward an urban policy agenda that moves Michigan toward prosperity

Sept. 25, 2013:Strategic lessons on placemaking from the League’s annual conference in Detroit

Aug. 21, 2013:Michigan’s Port Communities – a Vital Element in the State’s Economic Prosperity

July. 24, 2013:Michigan cities and downtown centers experiencing population growth despite challenges

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

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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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