ALLENDALE — Michigan cities will have a source for new information about urban sprawl, growth and development, thanks to a new partnership involving three Michigan universities.
The Michigan Higher Education Land Policy (MIHELP) consortium is a research and outreach initiative that will involve faculty members from Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Grand Valley State University. It is supported by a $200,000 grant from the Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Faculty teams from the institutions will conduct policy research to improve understanding of problems facing Michigan’s metropolitan areas and deliver a range of options and analytic tools that will assist policymakers and stakeholders.
“Our cities, townships, and older suburbs face common challenges that impact their health and future, as well as the entire state,” said Soji Adelaja, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and MIHELP co-director. “Local and state decision makers are looking for solutions.”
According to Adelaja, challenges include urban infrastructure deterioration, unbridled sprawl, traffic congestion and a decline of public education opportunities.
In its first effort, MIHELP partners will publish a new “State of Our Cities” report. This report will highlight key metropolitan indicators and significant trends for tracking over time. Analysis will be conducted to ascertain gaps between metropolitan areas and also the gaps between jurisdictions within the same area.
In addition to the report, the consortium will sponsor a metropolitan issues seminar featuring nationally recognized speakers; establish a competitive grants program that will seed inter-university research and outreach projects; publish a metropolitan studies report series; establish a metropolitan studies Web site; and develop an inter-university faculty expertise database.