MSU Gets Land Policy Grant

May 19, 2005
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EAST LANSING — The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a $5.9 million investment over three years in the Michigan State University Land Policy Program to support land-use policy research, education and innovation in partnership with Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a Lansing-based private policy research firm.

"Michigan is unique; no other state can boast of this kind of public-private partnerships infrastructure in land use policy," stated Soji Adelaja, Hannah Distinguished Professor in land policy and director of the MSU Land Policy Program, the principal partner in implementing the grant. "Success in addressing land use issues like sprawl, traffic congestion, and resource conservation is critical to Michigan's future prosperity and a broad consensus is forming around that premise."

"We hope this grant will help Michigan State further develop the tools necessary to help the people of Michigan make wise land use decisions into the future," stated Rick Foster, Kellogg Foundation vice president for food systems and rural development.

The grant will build upon the program People and Land (PAL), a statewide partnership that has played a major role in the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, a bi-partisan panel appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm that made more than 150 recommendations in 2003 to Michigan legislators and local and state policy makers.

The PAL approach focuses on educating citizens and policy makers about land-use issues, informing them of innovative policy tools and alternative options, and convening organizations to understand various perspectives and implement appropriate land-use agendas.

Municipal leaders have gained easier access to valuable training and information in helping them make land-use decisions. Cities have been given innovative tools to take control of their destinies by acquiring and improving abandoned properties, or combining their resources to provide services.

Bill Rustem, president of Lansing-based PSC, will serve with Adelaja as co-director of the Phase III PAL work.

"PAL's accomplishments have been second to none in truly raising the public's and the media's awareness of land use issues in both the political and policy arenas," Rustem said. "But much more needs to be done. MSU's Land Policy Program is positioned to take the lead in demonstrating how an engaged university and creative faculty can support Michigan communities and government with research-based information as they work to make smarter land-use decisions."

The new PAL funding also will help establish a new competitive higher education land use research grants program that would support faculty from MSU, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Grand Valley State University in pursuing relevant research to address the needs of stakeholders in land use. Additionally, it will help recruit a new core team, Land Policy Extension Educators, to address local land use education needs.    

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