Thriving communities are a key to Michigan’s long-term success and sustainability. If we are going to compete globally in the 21st century, then it is critical to create communities that can attract and retain talent and enterprise. This policy agenda proposes a commitment of action in partnership between the State and its municipalities that will facilitate Michigan’s economic growth and allow for the development of places to provide key services and amenities that contribute to a high quality of life. It focuses on a more regional approach to service delivery, which would change the way services are provided, how resources are dedicated, and how systems are supported. Approved by the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees in June of 2013, this policy agenda proposes actions that will re-establish a partnership for prosperity in four key areas:
Funding for the Future – Making sure that appropriate funds and tools are available to operate efficiently and work regionally in order to succeed globally.
Michigan in Motion – Shifting from near exclusive vehicular-based investment to alternative modes of transportation that will accommodate all users, i.e. pedestrians, bikers, public transit riders, and drivers.
Place for Talent – Partnering with the State to attract and retain talented workers in our communities through placemaking policies.
Strength in Structure – Seeking out solutions to invest in infrastructure and development where it will produce the best results and target resources with maximum outcomes.
It should be noted that, all of the policy solutions are not created equal. The League recognizes that in order for some of these policy actions to realize the most benefit, basic service needs must be met first. It brings to mind Maslow’s Triangle, which was introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943 in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow depicts human motivation through a hierarchical chart of human needs, which proceed from the basic to the more complex. According to Maslow, basic physiological needs such as food and water come first, followed by safety and so on, and he suggests that you cannot move to the next level without satisfying the previous set of needs. Unmet basic needs means we cannot proceed to those things that bring true meaning and satisfaction in life such as friendship, love, and the creative expression of “self.”
We can depict our policy proposals in the same manner, giving a visual depiction of how critical and essential it is to obtain the basic policy changes in order for communities to be able to move to the higher “levels” to reach the point of being fully sustainable places.
The policy recommendations can be placed into a triangle of their own—a Hierarchy of Proposals for Sustainable Places.
The League’s Policy Agenda is a mix of core solutions that build on each other. Taken as a whole, they would put Michigan’s communities in a competitive position as we move ahead in the 21st century, creating sustainable places that attract talent and prepare them to flourish in the knowledge economy.