Public art project brightens downtown Ann Arbor

power-art-webAt Carlisle/Wortman Associates we understand the importance of public art in a community and we also understand the need for infrastructure. So it was a no-brainer for us to support PowerArt!, a collaboration between the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, the Public Art Commission and the Arts Alliance. The project covers traffic boxes in downtown Ann Arbor with vinyl, printed art reproductions by local artists. Considered public art or an urban canvas the traffic boxes contribute colorful, eye-catching fun to downtown while discouraging flyer-posters and graffiti artists from covering the boxes. You’ll find our powered-up box at the corner of Ashley and Washington.

Changes in recreation demand align with placemaking in Michigan

two cyclist  mountainbiker during a race in the woods“People choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles. Michigan can attract and retain talent – especially young, knowledge-based talent – by focusing on how best to take advantage of the unique placemaking assets of our regional communities,” says the State of Michigan’s website.

For the past six years the state’s planning and economic development teams have focused their resources on creating attractive, healthy places to live and work. At the same time, the forms of recreation that are expanding are those favored by the very millennials placemaking targets. “Think REI instead of Cabela’s,” says this Bridge Magazine article.

Bridge reports that since 2009, the number of resident hunters in in Michigan dropped 10 percent and the number of fishing licenses fell by a third.

“It is a different mentality,” said Brad Garmon of the Michigan Environmental Council. “The hunting and fishing generation was a lot about family, going away to deer camp together. The millennial generation is much more about weaving activities into their daily life.” Those activities include hiking, climbing, mountain biking, paddleboarding, geocaching and kayaking.

The city of Marquette targets mountain bikers and, yes, surfers. Alpena promotes shipwreck diving, Tawas provides ideal winds for kiteboarders. If Grand Rapids can gain the necessary federal approvals, changes to the downtown portion of the Grand River could result in $16 to $19 million in annual economic impact from water tourism.

California photo essay

By Charlotte Wilson

When I travel, I’m always on the lookout for examples of good planning. While visiting in Davis, CA I spotted an innovative low-impact development drain and a parklet created by three businesses in parking spaces they licensed from the city. (Click on images to enlarge them).


Aging in Places


Access Management


This illustration is from our 61-page glossary, a free benefit for Carlisle|Wortman clients.

Are you using all the benefits of your APA and MAP membership?

By Ben Carlisle and Paul Montagno

3 past MAP presidents -- DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto, with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

3 past MAP presidents — DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto — with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

Many of our readers are members of the American Planning Association (APA) and its state chapter, the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). Carlisle/Wortman Associates’ commitment to these two organizations runs deep. We have three former MAP presidents on our staff * and Ben Carlisle is an elected member of the national AICP Commission, which oversees the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Naturally, then, we encourage you to join or maintain your memberships in both organizations. But don’t just take our word for it – the benefits are real and speak for themselves.

As planners, we’re keenly interested in new ideas and fresh approaches. APA delivers with its valuable monthly magazine, Planning, and 21 divisions which you can join, offering themes as diverse as hazard mitigation, regional planning, housing and new urbanism. APA has a library of reference papers and books and offer free photos taken by planners that you can use in presentations, proposals and publications. Check out their communications training guide.

Certification through APA has tangible benefits. The most recent APA/AICP survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.

If you’re a professional planner and a member of APA, you automatically belong to MAP. MAP also offers communities group memberships for their planning commissioners and elected officials. Anyone can join MAP for $60 per year.

Do your planning commissioners or zoning board members know what they need to know to keep your community out of trouble? MAP brings the training to you. MAP also has a planning library, publishes a regular newsletter and an e-newsletter. Learn at the annual conference in Kalamazoo, October 26-29, both in the conference sessions and a generous set of peer to peer networking opportunities. AICPs can earn continuing education credits at MAP conference sessions.

You can enhance the long-term benefits of membership if you give back a little to your profession. Teaching children about planning today will give tomorrow’s planners a supportive, knowledgeable constituency.

Join APA’s planners advocacy network or legislative action center to learn to influence federal and state officials and agencies.

Association membership is like a gym membership. It only works if you use it. Both APA and MAP offer an array of benefits you can use to improve yourself and your community.

Vacant Detroit land could reduce stormwater run-off

Here’s an article giving more details about the Detroit green infrastructure our Chris Nordstrom wrote about a couple days ago.