michigan.theater.annarborWe are excited to announce that Let’s Save Michigan is becoming a part of the Michigan Municipal League‘s effort to engage every citizen in their community!

The Michigan Municipal League is the one clear voice for Michigan communities, and addresses the challenges that cities face by developing strategies that help leaders throughout the state grow and capitalize on their unique assets.  Creating Better Communities, Better Michigan.  They advocate for better policies relating to these assets, educate Michiganders to the benefits of such strengths, and help leaders develop and implement these strategies.  The League helps Michigan communities grow, resulting in economically competitive communities where people want to live.

The Michigan Municipal League has been working towards the same goals we have: helping Michigan’s communities grow into attractive, adaptable, economically competitive regions to revitalize our state.  We’re so excited to be teaming up with them for increased capacity, research, strategic thinking, and advocacy.

We think our state has come a long way since LSM first got off the ground, but we still have a long way to go.  Please join us over at the Michigan Municipal League.  We still need your ideas, your support, and your engagement to keep Michigan heading in the right direction.

itsaboutplaceIn this fourth post taking us down memory lane, we remember our 2012 placemaking contest, which spread awareness about placemaking as a community and economic development strategy.

The It’s About Place competition engaged almost 50 individuals or teams to identify an underutilized space in their community, consider how they could improve the location through placemaking, and design a solution to turn it into a community space. Over 17,000 of you were moved by the competition, and submitted votes to help choose which finalists most successfully planned more attractive, welcoming, and safe places. The four finalists selected by the judges received financial assistance towards implementing their projects and three of the four projects have now been built.

We would like to one last time congratulate our winners and thank everyone who participated in making the contest such a success!

Detroit-LID-Existing-Conditions-2Our most recent contest, Highways for Habitats, harnessed the creativity and bright ideas of our citizens to explore how to make roads that must serve the purpose of moving people and goods through communities simultaneously work better for the communities they bisect.  Often times, finding the right, balanced solution for our roads and cityscapes is challenging, and we asked you to get innovative and attempt a design that equally serves all road users.  The contest winner, livingLAB, with its design The Detroit Lid!, created a design that would strengthen Detroit’s core, enhance alternative transportation and pedestrian options, and reconnect areas of the city that had been isolated for decades.

As a primer for the contest, we ran a blog series that shared 30 case studies from around the world where creative transportation solutions truly harnessed the power of transportation to support healthier communities.

Octavia Bldv SFDuring the spring and summer of 2010, we collected over 343 signatures on a petition in support of the Complete Streets bills in the Michigan House of Representatives.  These bills were signed into law in early August 2010, making Michigan the 14th state to pass Complete Streets legislation.  Well done!

In 2011-2012, Michigan’s legislature considered (for the 24th time since the 1970s) the establishment of a Regional Transit Authority for Southeast Michigan, and finally, this time, it stuck.  The RTA was signed into law in December of 2012, with hopes of making transportation around the area more efficient, connected, and ultimately, usable for riders. Our readers, during the time of the bills’ consideration, participated in one of our strongest advocacy campaigns: together we submitted 2,172 letters to the governor and state legislators encouraging them to pass the series of bills needed to establish the RTA. Nice work!

For all the times you’ve written that letter, read the latest report, attended a public forum or marched with your neighbors, we applaud you.

As Let’s Save Michigan approaches its transformation, we’d like to remember some of the great successes we’ve had over the last few years.

In 2010, our first contest inspired more than 60 of you to share your vision for Michigan’s future with a forward-looking poster design. The Poster Contest ran in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts and its exhibit of Works Progress Administration artwork of the 1930s.  The posters aimed to remind the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism, and to embody the spirit of the Let’s Save Michigan campaign.

The contest’s entries so far surpassed our expectations that we decided to double the number selected as finalists (from the original contest plan).  The posters of the finalists were then displayed in Detroit’s Historic Fischer Building.

The great reach of the contest illustrated to us the power of competition to engage an enthusiastic public.  Contestants require participants to get educated and creative, and to truly think about the issue and its effects at a personal level.  We are extremely proud of the response to the contest, and we believe it is proof that Michiganders have great ideas and a healthy vision for moving Michigan forward.