When the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) received an Ira Gribin grant from NAR a few years back, it funded a statewide initiative to study the benefits of placemaking in workforce housing. “As REALTORS®, we have been all about land use planning for a long time, but now we clearly need to focus on placemaking, specifically, as the real key to reversing the fortunes of the housing market here in Michigan.” says 2012 MAR President Beth Foley. Placemaking is a progressive movement that creates improved and distinctive public spaces by involving community input. In February 2012, when Governor Rick Snyder announced his own support for placemaking policies to help spur the state’s flagging economy, state leaders asked MAR to lead the way. Using a $15K Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR as seed money, the association did just that by hosting “MI Great Places,” the state’s first Placemaking Leadership Forum.
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