Michigan State University announced last week Soji Adelaja would step down after serving as director of the MSU Land Policy Institute.

Adelaja, the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and director of the institute since its inception almost five years ago, has accepted a request from the university to bring his expertise and leadership in land use policy to the university’s global initiatives.

Scott Witter, director of the School of Planning, Design and Construction, was named interim director, effective Monday, April 18. 

Witter has also served as the chairperson of the departments of community, agriculture, recreational resource studies and resource development.

The Institute will embark on a comprehensive review and planning process over the next few months under the leadership of interim director Witter.

Founded in 2006, the LPI has provided valuable research and analysis on strategic land use issues, including land policy, place strategy, regionalism and renewable energy. LPI faculty and staff members have also provided outreach and education to policy makers in the state, including the executive branch, the Legislature, and regional and local decision makers.

The institute will continue to connect land use stakeholders outside MSU with faculty and educators who can address contemporary issues and help find innovative solutions.

Most recently, LPI provided leadership for the Michigan Prosperity Initiative, an innovative effort by Michigan State University, in partnership with state agencies — the Governor’s Office, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. — and major state organizations – the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Regions and Michigan Association of Planning – to help return economic prosperity to the state.

Another ongoing strategic research and outreach project is the “Rebuilding Prosperous Places” initiative, which focuses on the quantification of the value of placemaking elements of the built environment, such as walkability, accessible transit, mixed use and green buildings. Research from the initiative will be released in the coming months and will be conveyed through regional training opportunities.


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