A goal of the Land Policy Institute (LPI) is to make Michigan and its higher education institutions the recognized national leaders on issues relating to land policy, whether it be revitalization of cities, farm viability, or stewardship of natural resources.
An important dimension of this goal is to raise Michigan State University's profile and ranking at the national level through communicating the results of research and outreach efforts associated with LPI and creating a conducive environment for academic and professional excellence and impact.
New Path Distinguished Speaker Series
LPI recognizes that academic institutions are bastions of new ideas, with a responsibility to enhance intellectual thought, foster new ideas that bring about behavioral change, and deliver those ideas in an engaging way.
In fall 2006, LPI launched the annual John A. Hannah Professor in Land Policy Distinguished Speaker "New Path" Series. Featured speakers include big picture thinkers and pioneers of transformational thought in the area of land use, with practical application to Michigan and its local communities. LPI partnered with over a dozen MSU colleges, departments, and endowed professors to fund the New Path Series.
Speakers to date include:
Lester R. Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and internationally renowned author of Plan B: 2.0: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble;
Dr. Stuart Gage, a world leader in ecology from MSU and Director of MSU's Computational Ecology and Visualization Laboratory;
Al Ratner, CEO of Forest City Enterprises and developer expert in urban revitalization; and
Huey Johnson, President of the Resource Renewal Institute, founder of the Trust for Public Land, past President of The Nature Conservancy, and international expert in Green Planning.
New Path Series speakers reach an even broader audience through webcasting of their events. Each is interviewed at WKAR, MSU's public television station, by LPI Director Dr. Soji Adelaja, and their lectures are videotaped and made available online.
To view them, visit www.wmsu.org. LPI also made books authored by both New Path Series speakers available at a reduced cost at the lecture events, and both speakers held book signings.
The International Land Policy and Planning Initiative
Projects funded by or spurred by LPI in the area of National Leadership are as follows:
- The Institute's International Initiative uses the paradigm of sustainable development as its framework, which involves integrating natural resources capital with economic and social capital to define and select land use alternatives that are socio-economically viable and acceptable, while preserving ecological integrity and productivity. The goal is to formulate land use solutions that maintain or restore ecological capacity, are socially just, and promote a sustainable and prosperous society.
LPI is home to various MSU international development, planning, and land policy projects that engage international faculty and students across numerous colleges and departments.
One example is the recently established Land Tenure Alliance where Michigan State University's Land Policy Institute, together with the University of Wisconsin and the University of Florida, will provide support to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service worldwide.
Other examples include collaboration with the Indonesian National Land Agency on agrarian reform, hosting visiting scientists, collaborative research with scientists from other countries, serving as guest lecturers, and providing consulting services to international research organizations, foreign government agencies, and private sector firms.
High Priority Topics (Ongoing*)
LPI has given the highest priority to the following topics within the area of National Leadership:
- Establish a five-year plan for success.*
- Identify trends that have significant effects on Michigan's citizenry (e.g. Michigan, the Great Lakes state).
- Build a successful track record.*
- Taking the lead in promoting the concept of a national network of "Centers of Land Use Excellence."
National Leadership Initiatives
- The American Citizen Planner Institute will build on LPI's national leadership in land policy and its acclaimed Citizen Planner program by growing a critical mass of better informed citizens nationwide that promotes responsible growth and has a positive influence on land use decisions at the local level.
- LPI is partnering with the Universities of Wisconsin and Florida in the formation of the Global Land Tenure Alliance, an USAID-funded initiative addressing impediments to land productivity, food, and income generation in developing countries. Administrative agreements with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to finance this effort are expected in 2007.
Select Community Impacts
- Representatives from the University of Florida visited LPI to learn about how the program was formed, what challenges were met, and what successes were achieved in order to develop a similar program at their institution.
- LPI staff members have given numerous presentations on programs and projects at national and international conferences.