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Rex LaMore

Director, Center for Community and Economic Development

Rex LaMore is director of Michigan State University’s Center for Community Economic Development and a member of the faculty of the Urban and Regional Planning Program. Dr. LaMore has over 35 years of experience in community and economic development and has focused his career on the unique challenges of revitalizing distressed communities and policies and practices related to promoting equitable and sustainable development.

LaMore provides leadership in a number of federal, foundation, and privately funded research and outreach partnerships. In 2011, under LaMore’s leadership, the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development was designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, as a University Center. The University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) multi-year initiative is creating a robust knowledge economy network to support the co-creation, co-application, and dissemination of innovative economic development tools and strategies.

In addition to directing the Center, LaMore’s current research is focused on a variety of community and economic development areas, including ending the practice of private property abandonment, the role of arts and culture in entrepreneurial creative capacity, and sustainability in community planning and development. He teaches honors sections in MSU’s Honors College and environmental planning courses, and co-teaches MSU’s Urban Planning Field Practicum course for undergraduate and graduate students. A number of his publications, research reports, and handbooks are available at

As the architect of the 1992 Outreach Partnership Act with Senator Don Riegle of Michigan, LaMore’s work has affected the nature of university-community partnerships nationwide. In 1995 he was the national recipient of the Community Development Society’s Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his leadership and sustained commitment to excellence in community development. In 2008 he received the prestigious Educator of the Year Award from the Michigan Economic Developers Association and in 2011 was recognized by his peers at MSU as a University Distinguished Academic Specialist.

LaMore is the past chairperson and current vice-chairperson of the Williamstown Township Planning Commission, which recently adopted the state’s first “Green Zone” land use classification. This innovative zoning classification is designed to preserve environmental, social, and economic sustainability along a segment of the historic Grand River corridor. LaMore was elected to the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association of Planning in 2012.

Dr. LaMore received his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

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