Common Ground: Land Use Issues in Michigan

Jan 01, 1998
  • Description

Whether we walk on it, drive over it, farm it, build on it, mine it, or simply enjoy it, land is the common ground we all share. And, because we all share the land, we all have a stake in how it's used. In fact, land use issues are more important in Michigan today than they've been for many years. That's good news and bad. The more we find out about what's being done to manage our land resources, the more we find out how little we know about doing just that. Land use issues affect everyone. So in 1997 W.K. Kellogg Foundation asked Public Sector Consultants (PSC), Inc., to research current problems and opportunities related to land use in Michigan. The report, "Shaping Our Future," revealed some important truths—truths with such broadreaching implications that we need to share them with everyone who has a stake in our land. Among our discoveries, we found that most people don't think about land use issues until they're told a waste treatment plant is going up in their backyard or a highway will be built through their front yard. In focus groups and phone surveys, Michigan citizens expressed concern about land use issues, but couldn't articulate what those issues were. Legislators, local and regional leaders, universities, and major statewide agencies, among others, couldn't agree on defining land use problems—let alone solving them. The research showed clearly that virtually all stakeholders must better understand land use issues if Michigan is to use land wisely today and protect it for future generations.