The MSU Land Policy Institute recently received a grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Association of Realtors to expand its study on “Placemaking: Building Prosperous Places.”

The purpose of this study is to determine the value that placemaking provides to homeowners and communities, as well as to identify the barriers to and potential strategies for implementing placemaking in Michigan communities.

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Results from the pilot study confirmed that certain placemaking elements, such as mixed-use development, walkable neighborhoods and public common areas, were associated with higher home values in the target communities: Lansing, Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Surveys of Michigan developers, bankers and local government officials showed that, while these stakeholder groups see the importance of placemaking to community vitality and economic development, there are a number of public perception, policy and financial barriers to achieving placemaking goals.

The expanded study will include an analysis of residential property in three additional Michigan cities — Kalamazoo, Flint and Grand Rapids — and in five cities in the Midwest with comparable characteristics to the Michigan case studies. By including these additional cities, the analysis should pick up greater variations in placemaking features and determine whether results on the value of placemaking are similar or different for other communities. Also, the research team will conduct a survey of homeowners in these cities to add more features, such as transit availability, energy efficiency and socio-economic factors at the household level, to the analysis. Finally, a survey of consumers will be undertaken to find out what they think about placemaking and what features are important to them in their living and work environments.

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The Land Policy Institute is hosting a one-hour Webinar to share the results from the initial study at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The event is free and open to the public, with no RSVPs required.

The full report, due out early next year, will examine the placemaking literature, summarize the application of placemaking in workforce housing, present the survey findings and explain the value of placemaking through the utilization of the hedonic pricing method for the case study cities.

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Questions about this study can be addressed to LPI’s Mary Beth Graebert at, or call (517) 432-8800. ext. 117.