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2018: Strengthening Michigan's Infrastructure and Sustainability: How Master and Capital Improvement Plans Can Help Build Sustainable "Green-Blue" Communities

Co-Learning Plan - 2018

Authors: John Austin, Michigan Economic Center & Dayne Walling, 21 Performance


This Co-Learning plan will examine the implementation of municipal master plans and capital improvement plans in the context of the challenges with public infrastructure systems and the opportunities for a future blue and green economy. Statewide information will be assessed and ten municipal profiles will be developed and compared representing a range of counties, cities, townships, and villages based on population size, economic characteristics, and geographic location including the core communities of Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids. Legislative, policy and strategic management reforms will be recommended to overcome impediments and to optimize public infrastructure systems in enhancing economic growth, protecting health, and increasing sustainability.

Author Information

John Austin John Austin, Michigan Economic Center

John Austin is the Founder and Director of the Michigan Economic Center, a center for ideas and network building to advance Michigan’s economic transformation. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution and a former statewide elected official and President of the Michigan State Board of Education. Austin created and directed the Great Lakes Economic Initiative for the Brookings Institution where he authored key Brookings reports that shaped the region’s economic development agenda including: "The Vital Center: A Federal-State Compact to Renew the Great Lakes Region;" "The Vital Connection: Reclaiming Great Lakes Economic Leadership in the Bi-National Great Lakes Region;" and "Healthy Waters, Strong Economy" which led to federal support for Great Lakes clean-up and restoration and regional understanding and actions to build on our Great Lakes and water resources as an economic asset. Austin also served as Policy Director for Michigan’s Governor appointed Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth, and was principal author of the Commission’s influential report. He was the founding Director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan--an effort by the region’s philanthropies to aid in the area’s economic transformation--and he initiated the Global Detroit program to welcome immigrants as a source of economic strength and renewal. Austin received his Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a BA from Swarthmore College in Economics & Political Science with High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa.

Dayne Walling Dayne Walling, 21Performance

Dayne Walling is manager of 21 Performance, a consulting company built on his professional experience as a public executive, social entrepreneur, and research fellow. He is the former Mayor of the City of Flint and under his leadership the city adopted its first comprehensive master plan in more than 50 years and developed collaborative initiatives in public safety, infrastructure, development and volunteerism. Dayne is also a prominent speaker and commentator on economic development, urban policy, and brownfield revitalization and has served on the Executive Committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and as the chairperson of the national Manufacturing Alliance of Communities. He holds degrees in social relations, modern history, and urban affairs and has completed doctoral work in geography. Dayne was a Rhodes and Truman scholar from Michigan State University's James Madison College and an Aspen Rodel fellow.

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