REI E-Update

March, 2019

Share, Learn, Create Innovative Economic Development Ideas

A diverse and dynamic network developing and implementing innovative economic development ideas, tools, models, policies, and practices for Michigan.

In This Issue

REI: Investing in Michigan Communities

REI's 2017/2018 Investment Impact:


REI-funded projects have a measurable financial impact on Michigan communities' economic development. Our work, and the work of our partners, created $647,500 of private and public investment throughout the state last year. Without the support and participation of the REI Network, we could not be this successful. Thank you!

"We can more effectively use funding we currently receive for economic and community development planning because of our work with REI."

- John Egelhaff, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

2019 Innovation Fellow

Norman Christopher

The MSU EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation is pleased to announce Norman Christopher has been selected to serve as a 2019 REI Innovation Fellow. Mr. Christopher will join change agents who have served as Innovation Fellows in the past. His Innovation Fellowship will build upon a his previous MSU REI student led research project to explore viable social impact and social entrepreneurship community investment strategies such as Charitable Loan Funds, Social REITS, and Opportunity Zones etc. He will develop a social impact investment "guidebook or toolkit" to assist foundations and other grant making institutions, community residents, philanthropic donors, social NGOs, as well as local communities and neighborhoods as they seek to increase innovative economic development activities to address specific social impact areas of concern.

Make 2019 a Year of Risk-Taking

Save the Date: Innovate Michigan! Summit 2019

The 8th annual Innovate Michigan! Summit and Michigan Inventors Coalition (MIC) Expo will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing.

The Innovate Michigan! Summit features presentations on innovative economic development tools, models, programs, and policies and community-university projects from around the state. Participants will gather to prioritize ideas for future REI activities and are invited to join the MIC Expo and reception following the Summit.

2019 Co-Learning Plans

REI is Proud to Announce the 2019 Co-Learning Plans! Visit the Current Project Page to learn more about each project.

Energy Co-op Broadband Networks: Connecting Rural Americans to 21st Century Economic Opportunity

Mitchell Shapiro, Private Consultant

This project will help RECs, rural stakeholders and policymakers evaluate options and develop strategies that help Michigan and other states expand rural broadband availability, adoption, usage and benefits in ways that support strong and economically healthy rural communities.

Marrying Community Benefits and Development Practice

Sam Butler, Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4)

After exhaustive study and evaluation, D4 has concluded that in order for community benefits to be effective in Michigan, they need to be embedded early in the development process. But how to effect these policies without driving away private investment remains a key question.

City of Adrian Opportunity Zone Development

Mary ZumBrunnen & Chris Miller, City of Adrian

This Co-Learning proposal focuses on developing best practices for a small Opportunity Zone within the City of Adrian concentrating on fund development and attraction. Within an Opportunity Zone, investors may receive capital gains relief in low-income census tracts of distressed communities.

Translating Smart City Manager Knowledge

John Monberg, Ph.D., MSU Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures

I will work with students to create a usable humanities frameworks for city managers grappling with the consequences of new Smart City initiatives by drawing upon sophisticated humanities perspectives for understanding issues of agency, representation, deliberation and equity.

Integration of Online Market Place and Main Street in Michigan Communities: Driver Impacts and Policy Implications

Peilei Fan, Ph.D., MSU School of Planning, Design, & Construction

This proposal is to examine how online market place and Main Street can be best synergized for Michigan communities.

Pathways for Lifecycle Building Practices: Material Reuse in Tiny Home Construction

Michael Moreno-Beals & Nathaniel Hooper, Private Consultants

The first topic of this proposal is to examine the feasibility of using Tiny Houses as a means to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient housing. This will entail an analysis of the real and perceived barriers to utilizing Tiny Houses to meet a communities affordable housing needs, from the perception of key stakeholders and those most affected by the issue.

2018 Reports Are Now Online!

2018 Co-Learning Plan Reports

The 2018 Co-Learning Plans are now on the website! You can visit all of the projects found below or you can visit our website for more.

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

This Co-Learning plan examines 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.

Click here to read the full report! 

Smart Cities and Infrastructure for Michigan

Smart cities represent the future of urban and infrastructure development. This project aims to provide a holistic picture of the past and current trends of smart cities while retaining a focus on the state of Michigan.

Click here to read the full report! 

Economic Assessment of Startup Accelerators

The most common way to define a Startup Accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort based program that includes outlined objectives for the participants, industry expertise (mentorship), educational components, an exchange of funding for equity, and culminating in a "Demo Day."

Click here to read the full report! 

2018 Student Led, Faculty Guided Project Reports

The 2018 Student Led Faculty Guided Project Reports are now on the website! You can visit all of the projects found below or you can visit our website for more.

Assessment of the Maker Economy in Detroit

For many commentating on national trends, the 'maker economy' is a network of inventors, artisans and entrepreneurs dedicated to designing and making, and being committed to the places where they live.

Click here to read the full report! 

Big-Box Converted to Co-op

An Alma College student team plans to work with the local community to convert an abandoned 'big-box' retail location (K-Mart) to a year round fresh vegetable and fruit production facility. Launching a cooperative controlled by local consumers and workers will benefit both urban and rural poor in the region.

Click here to read the full report! 

MSU Center for Community and Economic Development, University Center for Regional Economic Innovation, 1615 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912
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