Midland, MI (2006)

Clients: The City of Midland, the Midland Area Community Foundation, and Dow Chemical Company

Midland is a small city known for its great quality of life, vast networks of public parks and strong sense of community. But while most indicators point to it as being a great place to live, its downtown lacks a strong identity and could offer more to its residents in terms of active places and destinations.

To create a more inviting downtown the City of Midland, the Midland Area Community Foundation and Dow Chemical Company invited PPS to train a group of city leadership and help identify opportunities and priorities for public space improvements. PPS initiated the first phase of the project with a two-day series of meeting and workshops. Over 60 people participated in the training and another 150 came to an evening public lecture and discussion. The city’s creative and passionate civic leaders put together a very successful visit.

A Placemaking approach is particularly well suited to bring out the best of what Midland has to offer because so much has been invested in physical infrastructure over the last 30 years. But the energy of Midland’s residents has not yet been fully showcased in the public spaces of the city. It is now necessary to optimize the new infrastructure by managing places (whether parks, streets, trails, public institutions, or other open spaces) and bringing them up to their highest possible use.