Community and Economic Development

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Sustainable & Just Investing at Michigan State University: A Report to the Board of Trustees

In the Fall of 2021 a group of dedicated faculty, students, and concerned partners undertook a fact-finding investigation to more fully understand the policies and practices that the Michigan State University Board of Trustees were employing to guide the University’s investment portfolio. Valued at an estimated $4.5 billion dollars, the management of this public endowment is the responsibility of the MSU Board of Trustees (BOT) and is critical to the fulfillment of MSU’s mission. This investigation by the ad hoc group was motivated in part by a growing societal awareness of the importance of aligning institutional investment practices with an agreed-upon set of values and goals.

Building a More Sustainable Economy in Michigan: Priority Actions for Supporting an Extended Producer and Circular Economy, June 2020

This paper outlines our process of collaboration and consensus building around ways to advance the circular economy in Michigan. This text serves not only as a launching point for the circular economy and the related practice of extended producer responsibility initiatives in the state, but as a blueprint for knowledge networking. Programs that center around product take-back, reusable packing, and modular and repairable design have heightened interest among those surveyed in this work and may serve as primary avenues for greater extended producer responsibility and circular economy proposals.

Overview of Community Benefit Agreements and Status in Detroit, Michigan

This brief report provides an overview of the role of Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) and the role they can potentially play in a community and economic development project. Issues surrounding CBA ordinances are always changing. Readers are encouraged to review other sources for additional information on CBAs, such as the listed references in this document, to gain further insights.

Arts and the Innovative Workplace

This study builds on the previous research linking arts practices with innovation, the creative work force, and economic development. It addresses three specific questions through analysis of a sample of innovative, high growth, high wage firms in Michigan. First, how do entrepreneurs and innovators apply skills learned through arts training and practice to their professional work? Second, how and to what extent do these individuals participate in community development and community arts endeavors? And finally, how do innovators design and organize their work environments in ways that facilitate and encourage creative productivity?

MSU Cultural Economy Research Team: Carolyn J. Hatch, Ph.D., Rex L. LaMore, Ph.D., Eileen Roraback, Ph.D., John H. Schweitzer, Ph.D., James L. Lawton, MFA, Young Lee, Ph.D., Laleah Fernandez, Larissa Fedoroff, Amy Lazet

ArtSmarts Among Innovators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), March 2011

During times of economic crisis, those in charge of school and public resource budgets often eliminate arts, music, dance and craft opportunities. The assumption is, in part, that arts and crafts are frills that are dispensable. Research suggests, however, that disposing of arts and crafts may have serious negative consequences for Michigan's ability to produce and attract innovative scientists and engineers who invent patentable products and found valuable new companies. Our study of Michigan State University Honors College science and technology graduates (1990-1995) has yielded four striking results.

MSU Cultural Economy Research Team: Rex LaMore, Ph.D., Robert Root-Bernstein, Ph.D., James Lawton, M.F.A., John Schweitzer, Ph.D., Michele Root-Bernstein, Ph.D., Eileen Roraback, Ph.D., Amber Peruski, Megan VanDyke, Laleah Fernandez

Understanding Small Business Needs and Capital Access Barriers in Northern Lower Michigan, March 2011

The Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) project team sought to identify small business capital needs and the barriers to capital access in Northern Lower Michigan in a research project supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG). The study was conducted in late 2010. CCED had earlier identified insufficient access to capital as a major obstacle to economic recovery and future business growth in its study titled Investment 101: Capital Access and Investment Strategies in Northern Michigan and the Eastern Upper Peninsula, funded in part with a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant. However, the CCED team wanted to develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of small business capital access conditions in rural Northern Lower Michigan. The team believed a more complete understanding of these conditions could lead lenders, small businesses, and policy makers to take actions to improve small business capital access.

Project Team: J. D. Snyder, Rex LaMore, Steven Miller, Robert Griffore, John Schweitzer, Paul B.A. Holland, John Melcher

Why Buy Local? An Assessment of the Economic Advantages of Shopping at Locally Owned Businesses, September 2010

In this report, the CCED examined the findings of several studies to identify ways to increase local prosperity by keeping money in the local economy and to assess the impact of these initiatives in comparison to those of large chain retailers. For an in-depth view of the analyses presented in these studies, see the works cited for a list of studies researched to create this report.

In cooperation with the Capital Area Local First, Principal Author: Nandi Robinson, Contributor: Rex L. LaMore, Ph.D.

Northern Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Knowledge Economy Strategies Project Co-Learning White Paper Innovative Development and Strategic Promotion of Ecotourism in Northeast Michigan, June 2010

As a new/emerging economic sector, ecotourism is generally underdeveloped, and there are good reasons to reverse this neglect. According to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, North American (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) travel and tourism represented 11.6% of total GDP, 12% of total employment, and 10% of total capital investments in 2000. Tourism is the world's largest industry and one of the fastest growing. Another researcher asserts that "ecotourism has become the most rapidly growing and most dynamic sector of the tourism market." Since the 1990s, ecotourism and nature tourism have grown 20%-30% per year, and this growth is three times greater than the traditional tourism industry in 2004. This growth of nature tourism including ecotourism could create an estimated economic impact of $473.6 billion per year.

Principal Authors: Jihye Kang, Rex LaMore, J.D. Snyder, John Schweitzer, Contributors: Richard Deuell, Ken Corey, Brandon Schroeder Mary Ann Heidemann

Michigan Knowledge Economy Business Study Research Report, June 2010

Knowledge and technology have always been important for economic growth and development; however, the current wave of technological change places a premium on the generation, management, and application of knowledge-triggering a seismic shift in the products we make and the skills we value. The information technology revolution (i.e. Internet, microcomputer, telecommunications) powers this internationally competitive, "flattened world" in which the keys to economic success lie in the extent to which knowledge, technology, and innovation are embedded in products and services (Atkinson, 2004; Friedman 2005). Communities, businesses, and individuals, by necessity, are struggling to find successful new approaches to compete in the global knowledge economy.

Diane M. Doberneck, Ph.D., Researcher Center for Community and Economic Development Steffen Hampe, Graduate Student Urban and Regional Planning Program

Northern Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Knowledge Economy Strategies Project Co-Learning White Paper #3 Exporting Resources for and Identification of Eastern Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Companies Engaged or Interested in Exporting, May 2010

Exporting can be a powerful part of a company's drive to competitive success in the global knowledge economy and to the economic growth of its surrounding community. By reaching beyond domestic markets, a company can increase its production, sales, and jobs. Exporting companies are also known to have higher productivity so they are more competitive and successful. However, only 4% of U.S. companies export. As a result, U.S. exports make up about 10% of GDP compared to 40% in Europe and China, 36% in Canada, and 16% in Japan.

In light of these economic circumstances, the President set a goal to double exports by 2015 and increased Export-Import Bank trade financing by $2 billion per year effort to increase support for small and medium-sized businesses. The U.S. Commercial Service and SBA have also stepped up programs to support small and medium companies that seek to export or expand their current exporting. As the economic landscape is transformed from a manufacturing to knowledge economy, Michigan communities are also changing their understanding of the role that arts and culture play in the globally competitive environment. Creative and cultural assets in local communities are seen as both a source of jobs and an important factor in increasing community competitiveness. The convergence of creativity and technology are critical to inventing our way to prosperity.

Co-Learning Team: Rex LaMore Principal Investigator, J. D. Snyder Project Director, Sara Bowers Project Assistant, Jeff Hagan, Executive Director Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission

Northern Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Knowledge Economy Strategies Project Co-Learning White Paper #5 Innovative Strategies for Talent Retention and Attraction in Rural Regions, December 2009

Many rural areas in the US find it difficult to retain and attract talented individuals to their regions. Millennials, entrepreneurs, professionals, and others find urban areas and "cool cities" like Chicago, Austin, and Raleigh-Durham, for example, to be desirable places to live, work, and play. They perceive these cities as having better job prospects and economic opportunities, more cultural activities, and generally, a higher quality of life. Conversely, rural regions of the United States are perceived as having few job prospects and economic advancement, little cultural activity, and generally, a low quality of life. Because of these perceptions rural regions of the US have found it difficult to retain and attract talented individuals who are integral to the development of local economies, especially knowledge economies.

Co-Learning Team: Rex LaMore Principal Investigator, J.D. Snyder Project Director, Charles Collins, Project Assistant

Northern Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Knowledge Economy Strategies Project Co-Learning White Paper #4 Eastern Upper Peninsula Manufacturing Companies Exporting Survey Results and Analysis, August 2009

This White Paper builds on our earlier Co-Learning White Paper, "Exporting Resources for and Identification of Eastern Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Companies Engaged or Interested in Exporting." It describes the follow-up study's objective, methods, and analysis of the expanded Eastern Upper Peninsula manufacturing company survey data, and includes an expanded list of Eastern Upper Peninsula exporting companies and companies interested in exporting, respectively.

Northern Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Knowledge Economy Strategies Project Co-Learning White Paper #2 Criteria for Prioritizing Projects in Transforming CEDS to CIDS, July 2009

One of the requests from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG) sought assistance in developing a methodology to prioritize CEDS projects. NWMCOG's specific request included developing a methodology for project prioritization. Components of the methodology should include:

Co-Learning Team: Rex LaMore, Principal Investigator Ken Corey, MSU Department of Geography J.D. Snyder, Project Director Jaclyn Miel-Uken, Regional Planner

Estimation of the Number of Immigrants and Refugees in Lansing, Fall 2008

However, immigrants do not take up general residence in the US. That is, they settle in local communities. Therefore, not only are accurate data needed at the national level, they are essential at the local level as well in order to guide policy and plan for services. While there are a number of federal data sources and analysis mechanisms in place, the Lansing (MI) area has no such mechanism. The present report describes a recent effort to generate serviceable data on the immigrant and refugee population for the Lansing area. We begin by describing the impetus for the present research project.

Steven J. Gold, Ph.D., Wilma Novales Wibert, Ph.D., Vera Bondartsova, MA, John Melcher, MS, Lori A. Post, Ph.D., Brian J. Biroscak, MS, MA

The Lansing Tri-County Bio-Manufacturing Feasibility Study, Fall 2008

This study assesses the potential to create and sustain a bio-based manufacturing capacity in the Lansing Tri-County Region. To determine this potential, a rigorous analysis of the needed bio-manufacturing inputs, industrial infrastructure, intellectual capacity and regional leadership was conducted. While this analysis applies to the general bio-manufacturing sector with short-term implications for manufacturing such consumer goods as home products, computers, textiles, clothing, and furniture, our focus is the automotive bio-manufacturing sector. The orientation of this study is based on a recognition of the unique economic strength and potential the Tri-County Region has in the global automotive manufacturing market.

Research Team Contributors: Rex L. LaMore, John Melcher, J. D. Snyder, Kent Sugiura, Erin Whitney, Kyle Wilkes

The Lansing Tri-County Bio-Manufacturing Feasibility Study Evaluating Regional Capacity and Performance in the Emerging Automotive Bio-Manufacturing Sector of the Global Bioeconomy

Municipal Economic Development Tool Kit

The project aims at dissemination of the best practice in urban economic development among local government officials, extension specialists, economic developers, and researchers nationally and internationally. To achieve this goal, the project collects, publishes and promotes a set of basic economic development tools used by practitioners and extension specialists around the globe. The volume provides a description of development tools including practical and user-friendly advice about how to address common critical issues of municipal economic development. Each tool is contributed by an independent author (or a group). Then they were carefully reviewed and edited by experts from GUSP, LED, KEI and KSE. However, the content and the opinions presented in each tool are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of editors, founders or sponsors of the project.

Michigan Knowledge Economy Index: A County-Level Assessment of Michigan's Knowledge Economy, March 2007

While some communities are poised to help their citizens benefit from the increasing role of technology in their economy, others are ill-prepared to move forward in the knowledge economy, leaving them vulnerable to economic decline. This report applies analysis of knowledge economy indicators, based on the Progressive Policy Institute's Technology and New Economy Project, for the State of Michigan at the county level.

Principal Authors: Rex L. LaMore, John Melcher, Faron Supanich-Goldner, Kyle Wilkes Contributors:Thomas Adelaar, Kenneth E. Corey, Michael Hicks, Alexander Jung, Jongyeul Moon, Seth Shpargel, Karan Singh, Olatunbosun Williams, Mark Wilson

Sustainability: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and Gender Sensitivity, February 2007

Sustainability: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and Gender Sensitivity The importance of sustainable design and equality in spatial planning is a growing concern in the United States. Much of this is due to the increasing population as well as the focus on protecting our natural resources and reducing the impact of development on our planet. Sustainability is defined as "the ability to achieve continuing economic prosperity while protecting the natural systems of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its people" ( According to James P. Cramer, chairmen and principal at The Greenway Group Inc., "many [professionals] have been talking about sustainability for over 4 decades" ( Because sustainability is becoming a hot issue, planners, developers, government officials and citizens are expanding their knowledge on the topic and developing ways to protect our natural systems.

Elise Fields

Economic Development in a Global Knowledge Economy: A Guide for Local Practice

The Guide for Local Practice is the latest in a series of practice tools prepared in response to this challenge by the multidisciplinary Knowledge Economy Research Team of Michigan State University's Center for Community and Economic Development. These tools are intended to inform - and to help transform - local economic development planning and practice among communities. This Guide contains information that we hope will stimulate new ideas and help to reshape local processes, priorities and initiatives into new and more effective forms. The Guide builds upon prior work of the knowledge economy team examining implications of the knowledge economy for local planning and economic development practice in distressed communities.

Principal Author: Faron Supanich-Goldner, Contributors:Rex L. LaMore, John Melcher, Kenneth E. Corey, Mark Wilson, Diane Doberneck, Steffen Hampe

Metropolitan Michigan Knowledge Economy Indicators, June 2005

The transformation from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy at the close of the twentieth century has been well documented by scholars of planning and economics. Cities and their metropolitan areas are critical to this transition to an economy based on knowledge. A knowledge-based economy is strongly linked to the creation of highly-skilled, well-paying jobs. The knowledge economy affects existing enterprises, while also offering opportunities for new and emerging enterprises to offer new products and services.

Principal Authors: Rex L. LaMore, Jimish Gandhi, John Melcher, Faron Supanich-Goldner, Kyle Wilkes, Contributors: Kenneth E. Corey, Mark Wilson

The Dollars and Sense of Cultural Economic Development: Summary Report of Michigan's Cultural Capacity, June 2005

As the economic landscape is transformed from a manufacturing to knowledge economy, Michigan communities are also changing their understanding of the role that arts and culture play in the globally competitive environment. Creative and cultural assets in local communities are seen as both a source of jobs and an important factor in increasing community competitiveness. The convergence of creativity and technology are critical to inventing our way to prosperity.

Laleah Fernandez, Naren Garg, Rex L. LaMore

E-Briefs, Winter 2005

E-briefs highlight how businesses are making innovative use of digital technologies to improve their business practices.

Thomas Adelaar, Diane Doberneck

The Causes and Consequences of Concentrated Urban Poverty, February 2005

This literature review summarizes research on the causes (economic transformation, economic segregation, racial segregation, urban policy, and individual explanations) and the consequences (social organization, economic and institutional effects) of concentrated poverty in urban areas. It concludes with research-based implications for public policy.

Catherine E. Kuhn

Michigan's Windows to the Global Knowledge Economy: A County and Regional Level Web Site Analysis from an Economic Development Perspective, July 2003

This research examines the use of web pages for economic development in counties and regions of Michigan. Leaders, contenders, followers, and laggards are identified. Recommendations for effective economic development web development conclude the report.

Karan Singh

Investing in Michigan's Future: Community Investment Policies for Michigan's Higher Education Institutions, June 2003

This report outlines one response to the calls for renewed involvement of higher education in civic engagement-the investment of institutional resources through socially responsible investing and community investing. The potential impact of using Michigan State University's and University of Michigan's endowments for community investing is examined.

Jason Camis, Juan Bustamante and Kanthi Karipineni

An Examination of Government-Led Broadband Infrastructure Initiatives in Michigan, April 2003

This research evaluates the role of government in providing telecommunications services, particularly broadband internet access. Results of the Michigan eReadiness survey are reported by region. Five case studies (Oakland County, MI; Washtenaw County, MI; Coldwater, MI; Holland, MI; Evanston, IL) illustrate the range of government sponsored infrastructure initiatives.

James C. Breuckman

Kent County Homeless Study, Fall 2000

Kent County shelter providers have demonstrated considerable insight and leadership over the past years in responding to the needs of homeless persons throughout their community. It is hoped that this analysis will further strengthen their efforts to assist this vulnerable population in their time of need.

Jeff Frommeyer, Tammy L. Holt, Rex L. LaMore, John Schweitzer

"Combating Poverty with Assisted Self-Help: Building Assets for Independence with America's Poor" Final Report, November 1999

A study of 23 Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) in 16 states to examine the feasibility and effective operations of CDCU-based "Individual Development Accounts" (IDAs) final report to the Michigan Family Independence Agency and the Michigan Legislature.

Maryellen Lewis, Project Leader, Susan Cocciarelli, Specialist, John Melcher, Associate State Director, Center for Urban Affairs Community & Economic Development Program Michigan State University.