MSU EDA University Center for

Regional Economic Innovation

E-Update | April 2024

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Six Student-Led Faculty Guided Projects Presented at MSU

The recent MSU Urban and Regional Planning practicum presentations, led by Dr. Zenia Kotval’s students, and hosted at MSU's Union on April 19th, shined a spotlight on community engagement and experiential learning. Through these projects, students gain firsthand and practical experience in the application of previously studied theory, and economic development professionals receive technical assistance that might not otherwise be available. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration (EDA), and with additional support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), these projects showcased the dedication of students to address real-world challenges in Michigan communities.

The event attracted a diverse audience, including student teams, clients, REI/CCED staff, and MEDC's Senior Community Planner. Each team presented their projects, covering a range of topics such as economic revitalization, creating a sustainable and regenerative urban community, and assessment of community housing needs. The presentations were followed by engaging Q&A sessions, allowing for deeper discussions and insights.

Student-Led groups presented on The Lady Bug Center at Churchill Gardens, the City of Flint's Economic Development Plan, St. Johns North Gateway Project, the City of Utica’s Downtown Sub-Area Plan Proposal and the MorningSide Neighborhood revitalization in Detroit.  Learn more about these projects and all 2024 Student-Led Faculty Guided projects, here.  

Clients expressed their appreciation for the thorough case studies produced by the student teams, recognizing the potential for positive change, range of possibilities, challenges of implementation, limited resources, and benefits of having methods to start change based on data. Their feedback highlights the tangible benefits of leveraging higher education assets for technical assistance and sustainable development in Michigan.

Overall, the practicum presentations underscored the importance of collaboration between academia, government, and local stakeholders in shaping the future of urban and regional planning. Congratulations to all the student teams for their contributions to community resilience and growth. Completed reports will be uploaded to REI's website, Humanities Commons and Google Scholar by the end of June.
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