Michigan has long been fertile grounds for PPS work in Placemaking, but recently the state is taking Placemaking to an unprecedented level as the center of their economic development and place-based governance strategy.

Some of PPS’s signature projects have been in Michigan. The 2.5 acre, $20 Million, Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit has become a magnet for the revival of Detroit and has attracted billions in new investment in the blocks around it. Also starting in the late 1990s, PPS has helped lead the revitalization of the now bustling Eastern Market. More recently, with the support of the Ruth Mott Foundation, PPS has completed a three-year Placemaking program in downtown Flint, and new vitality is emerging in places ranging from Riverbank Park to the Flint Farmers Market. PPS has also facilitated and led many Placemaking trainings and workshops in many Michigan communities including Midland, Dearborn, Detroit, Holland, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids.

Building on the success of these projects, PPS has helped take the conversation to new levels. Giving keynotes at the Michigan Association of Planning, the Michigan Municipal League and to the Michigan Health Community and Michigan’s first Placemaking Summit. Out of work with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, they created a guidebook featuring all PPS principles and tools. The guidebook won an award from the National Assoc. of Development Organizations.

Working as part of a state-wide coalition to create and stimulate a broad Placemaking campaign in cities and towns, PPS led a two-day Placemaking leadership forum in collaboration with the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Realtors, Michigan State Housing and Development Authority, the Council of Michigan Foundations, the Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute. The two-day event included over 100 leaders from Michigan agencies, state-wide institutions and organizations and the governors office. The leadership forum directly informed a state-run Placemaking website and led to the creation of a “Lighter Quicker, Cheaper” grants program administered by Michigan Association of Realtors.

Detroit continues to drive innovation in Placemaking. PPS is partnering with the Kresge Foundation to bring Placemaking to low-income neighborhood.  In Central Detroit around Peaches ‘n Greens produce store with Detroit Central Christian CDC and in North Rosedale Park in Grandmont Rosedale, including the proposed relocation of the NW Detroit Farmers Market.  This work has been built on with the Kellogg Foundation focusing on the expanding the potential of farmers markets in three additional neighborhoods.

Today, PPS is under contract with Rock Ventures, the real estate arm of Quicken Loans, and is beginning a community process to develop “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” improvements to three downtown public spaces that will be implemented Summer 2013 (Cadillac Square, Capitol Park, and Grand Circus Park.)  Now, through Kresge’s support, we are also expanding this work to the Detroit Riverfront and Belle Isle Park.