Investing in communities is critical to long-term economic development, and Michigan’s future depends on its ability to attract and retain active, diverse and engaged residents. Local governments must foster the dynamics of place to become thriving communities in the 21st century.

psc-report-image-100x100Through its work, the League has identified eight asset areas that serve as the foundation for local placemaking efforts. A 2016 report by Public Sector Consultants, Creating 21st Century Communities: Making the economic case for place, summarizes the research linking these assets to local economic prosperity. Each community will have its own combination of assets in these areas: cultivate a successful place starts with an honest assessment of local strengths and gaps.

Additional ResourcesHow can you improve your community?

Effective civic engagement is a key element in community improvement. Involving residents in placemaking discussions and decisions helps ensure successful projects throughout the implementation process.

How to Get a Placemaking Project off the Ground

Test Ideas


Bring Public Spaces to Life with Pops of Activity
Would you like to try a temporary placemaking project to gauge your community’s interest in pursuing a larger project? Try PlacePOP, the League’s low-cost, high-impact service that demonstrates the power of place!

Get Funding


Engage Your Community
Crowdfunding is an innovative funding tool that enables people to invest in the community projects that matter most to them. There are two different types: crowdgranting and investment crowdfunding. Get the details and decide which type would work best for your placemaking project at

Learn from Success Stories TraverseCity-outdoor-cafe-212x167

How-to-Guides: Eight Assets of 21st Century Communities
Many Michigan communities have already launched projects that significantly enhance their residents’ sense of place. Click on one of the eight assets of 21st century communities below to read about their creative, effective place projects and learn how to get a project started in your community.We also have a complete listing of Placemaking How-To Guides in alphabetical order.

cultural-iconCultural Economic Development – Arts and culture are essential components of a thriving, knowledge-based economy. A healthy creative sector attracts and retains residents and businesses, and produces economic benefits including jobs, a stronger tax base, downtown and neighborhood revitalization, and tourism.
welcoming-iconWelcoming – Creating and sustaining a genuine commitment to welcoming diversity and multiculturalism in Michigan’s communities is vital to attracting key demographics and global businesses.
education-iconEducation – Educational institutions, kindergarten through college, play a central role in growing a knowledge-based economy and encouraging a more engaged citizenry. As anchor institutions, colleges and universities bring opportunities for entertainment, arts and culture, healthcare, and recreation, and serve as engines of economic development.
entrepreneur-iconEntrepreneurship – Entrepreneurship and small businesses are key components of local economic development. Local strategies that solely focus on seeking large manufacturers and big box retailers overlook the positive impact that entrepreneurs and small businesses have on local communities.
green-iconGreen Initiatives – The way we use energy and natural resources impacts our quality of life and financial bottom line. The potential to grow green industries, implement sustainable practices, and get on the cutting edge of current trends exists right here in Michigan.
computer-iconMessaging & Technology – Internet and communication technologies are connecting people and allowing them to share information faster and more frequently than ever before. Local governments are using new technologies to improve communication, transparency and engagement with their residents.
walk-iconPhysical Design & Walkability – Millennials, young professionals, baby boomers and empty nesters all want to live in walkable, mixed-used areas with access to cultural, social and entertainment opportunities.
transit-iconTransit – Developing effective public transit options in Michigan is a necessary tool for attracting and retaining residents, workers and businesses. People across the nation are choosing communities that offer various modes of transportation, easy access to the places they live, work, and play, and allow them to travel without having to rely on a car.