Land-use webinar to focus on 'placemaking' as economic development tool

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — How local municipalities can use an economic development strategy known as "placemaking" will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension on Wednesday, July 19.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar from noon to 1:15 p.m. will be Brad Neumann, a senior educator with Michigan State University Extension.

“Michigan was hit hard by the Great Recession — perhaps more so than any other state in the nation," he said. "Its industrial past, aging infrastructure and reliance on manufacturing limited the state’s economic recovery. What was needed was a new strategy, one that accounted for the realities of the New Economy, one that focused more on enhancing quality of life to attract population and again be competitive."

In Michigan, from the governor’s office down, state and local leaders have embraced placemaking — creating communities where people want to live, work, play and learn — as a key economic development strategy, according to Neumann. Pennsylvania can do the same thing.

State government leaders turned to Michigan State University Extension to develop educational training materials on strategies Michigan communities could take in order to improve quality of life, stabilize population loss, attract talent and restore economic prosperity, Neumann noted.

Michigan State Extension developed the Michigan Placemaking Curriculum — a comprehensive training of more than 33 hours of educational material and hands-on exercises. This training has been presented to hundreds of community development professionals who have, in turn, trained more than 15,000 Michigan officials and led dozens of hands-on placemaking design workshops with specific communities.

This webinar will discuss the concept of placemaking as an economic development tool; Michigan’s focus on placemaking over the past five years; and the new resource developed by Michigan State for planners and economic developers called "Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool," a 600-page guidebook that focuses on the discipline of placemaking.

With the help of these initiatives, the state of Michigan has come to be known as "The Comeback State," Neumann pointed out.

This webinar is the first in Penn State Extension's summer-fall webinar series. All of these programs will be recorded and available for viewing. Other topics and dates include:

  • Aug. 16: “PennDOT Connects Aligning Transportation Planning with Land Uses and Community Vision”
  • Sept. 20: “Renewable Energy for Municipal Authorities”
  • Oct. 18: “Municipal Tree Commissions and Tree Ordinances: Do They Support Community Development?”
  • Nov. 15: “Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal Recreational Facilities”

The cost of the webinar series is $40 for all five and $75 for all five for those who want to receive certification-maintenance credits from the American Planning Association or professional engineers.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $45.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. Register for the webinars. 

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Last Updated July 03, 2017