Strategy: Strengthen the quality of place throughout Northeast Michigan to entice talent and business development.
Economic growth depends on skilled talent. Attracting and retaining skilled talent means providing a high quality of life in terms of “great places” in order to draw diverse individuals to Northeast Michigan. Therefore, placemaking is an essential component in business and workforce development. This concept is simplified in the diagram to the right: places (communities) want business and business wants talent. The talent, which is so desired by employers, wants great places to live. Redeveloping urban centers can attract residents and draw visitors, thereby adding layers of economic activity giving urban centers a new vitality and strength. Some skilled workers want to live in vibrant, walkable communities with a diverse set of offerings. Other skilled workers want to live in rural areas but still desire and use the amenities in the nearby communities. Great places exist at a neighborhood scale, therefore placemaking is a neighborhood issue – not a large urban concept. However, placemaking needs to also occur in a coordinated regional manner in order to provide these skilled workers with a diverse offering of a network of vibrant communities which are all connected by the physical and virtual trails of Northeast Michigan. The key is to cultivate rich and inviting communities by building upon the area's historical foundation and natural assets. This will instill a sense of pride among existing community members, enhance the existing economy by attracting visitors and new workers to the area.