2012 sparked the first ever Lighter Quicker Cheaper Challenge. Lighter Quicker Cheaper (LQC) is a DIY approach based on taking incremental steps, trying low cost experiments, and tapping into local talents (e.g. neighbors, entrepreneurs) to quickly translate a community's vision into reality and to build momentum for further improvements.

In 2012, the Michigan Association of REALTORS® along with eight industry partners awarded $20,000 in placemaking grants to 9 applicants of the Greater Lansing Area, each with a REALTOR® sponsor. The first ever pilot placemaking grant program was a success! See 2012 grant winners and their finished projects.

Summer has officially arrived and LQCC is back and expanded to seven regions in the state of Michigan! There is no better time to put your community spirit to work right in your own backyard. To help your neighborhood celebrate your great places, we're offering grants to an individual or organization with a plan to make their neighborhood a livelier place. Perhaps the neighborhood park is calling out for a weekly tai chi class, open to all? Might a few well-placed chairs invite visitors to engage with one another? Will a local merchant work with you to offer a cooking demonstration in tandem with a fresh market to local college students on a budget? Thought about sprucing up a dilapidated wall with a mural? Is there an alley, parking lot or cul de sac available for movie night or a local group performance? Make it happen with LQCC!

Seven local REALTOR® Association offices will hold LQC Challenges in their regions. If you are interested in applying for a grant and live within/have a project for that region, please visit the corresponding web page below to apply. Deadlines and awarded grant amounts may vary:

Flint Area Association of REALTORS® LQCC
Jackson Area Association of REALTORS® LQCC 
Monroe County Association of REALTORS® LQCC
Grosse Pointe Board of REALTORS® LQCC
Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS® LQCC
• Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® LQCC
Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS® LQCC
Water Wonderland Board of REALTORS® LQCC

Lighter Quicker Cheaper (LQC) Background

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has been working has been working to help people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities since 1975, and have completed projects in over 2,500 communities in 40 countries and all 50 US states. Lighter Quicker Cheaper is a concept that PPS developed and advocates for continued local placemaking development and sustainability. Visit the Project for Public Spaces homepage to get more information and see some of the projects that they have already completed.

What is MAR?
 
The Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization formed in 1915 and is based in Lansing, Michigan. The MAR is the recognized public policy and legal advocate for private property rights and for the real estate industry and is the recognized statewide resource (clearinghouse) for professional development, business services, and knowledge exchange in service to 21,500 REALTORS® and industry professionals statewide.
 
Impetus

As the economy in Michigan improves, there is a window of opportunity to change the way our state approaches land use/growth. Statewide, significant resources are being allocated to placemaking, a simple concept based on a single principle – people choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles – as a driving principle for growth strategies in Michigan. To date the social or people side of placemaking is not as well advanced, but it has been increasingly noticed and discussed. The social or people side of placemaking is key to optimal engagement within a community for placemaking values. The MAR believes that without a plan for early adoption of a people/social component, placemaking concepts in Michigan will unnecessarily lag.
 
MAR, via eight local REALTOR® associations in Michigan, has expanded the program for a social/people component of placemaking referred to by PPS as Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper, targeting placemaking initiatives at the neighborhood level. At the conclusion of the regional pilot program, the template the template has been developed for a statewide program.
 
Local REALTORS® will coordinate or sponsor a grant application and will work closely with a neighborhood project team through implementation for small grants ranging from $250 to $1,000. 

Anticipated Outcomes
 
It is our hope this effort will lead to the development of a template for LQC projects that can be implemented on a small or large scale. In addition, the project will have the following impacts:
 
• Stimulate placemaking activity
• Stimulate dialogue toward sustained placemaking goals
• Encourage adoption of placemaking-friendly growth strategies with accommodations for people/social elements
• Highlight placemaking as a key rejuvenation strategy for communities looking to attract workers
• Increase human interaction leading to economic development


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