Michigan Land Use Institute

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About MLUI

Our Mission

Environment. Economy. Community.

The Michigan Land Use Institute is a nonprofit advocacy organization that protects the environment, strengthens the economy, and builds community.

We collaborate with citizens, government, businesses, and organizations to innovate models for resilience and prosperity.

A Bright Vision

MLUI is optimistic about Michigan’s future. Our unparalleled natural resources and our deeply rooted agricultural heritage are assets to be enjoyed and protected. We envision a state with a strong and diversified economy that offers opportunities for people from all walks of life: new jobs throughout the state in clean energy and agriculture; towns and cities that are vibrant, exciting centers of community, arts, culture, and commerce; and more options to get around with a diverse transportation infrastructure that makes it easy to choose walking, biking, public transit, or access to a well-maintained road network. People will move to Michigan, or return home, to enjoy all the state has to offer and to raise the next generations of bright, industrious, and proud Michiganders.

The Michigan Land Use Institute is committed to realizing this vision through strategically selected campaigns, initiatives, and projects. We focus our work in northwest Michigan because the region’s entrepreneurial spirit, culture of collaboration, and successful track record of joining economic growth and environmental protection make it a proving ground for innovation and possibility. We believe northwest Michigan will play an essential role in leading the state to prosperity.

Core Goals

At the Institute, we know that building community and developing durable economic resilience is long-term, systemic work. It very well may take generations to achieve our vibrant vision for Michigan. For this reason, we have identified three long-range goals that are rooted in our experience, and fundamental to advancing our mission. They are measurable. They are achievable. And they are: 

20% Local Food

By the year 2020, 20% of northwest Michigan’s food will be supplied by local growers and food entrepreneurs. This goal is shared by dozens of partners in the region, and has become the single unifying target driving all of the Institute’s actions in our food and farming program. When we achieve this goal, northwest Michigan will be the first in the country to do so, and the economic results will fundamentally change the conversation about the power of buying local.

Model Energy Program

By the year 2025, the Traverse City area will achieve at least a 25% reduction in energy demand and an increase in renewable energy production to 25% of the total. We intend to put the region on the map with one of the best clean energy programs in Michigan and a national leader among rural regions. This program will have a true sense of ownership from the widest possible set of community leaders, government officials, business people, and citizens.

25% Smart Commuters

By 2020, 25% of workers in the Traverse City area will “smart commute”— bike, walk, carpool or take the bus to work. We will advance a citizen-focused initiative called Local Motion to promote public transit, biking, walking, and ridesharing. We will target the largest employers in the region to develop nonautomotive strategies for commuters. We will advocate for improvements to the bus, biking, and walking infrastructure to make it even easier to be less dependent on an automobile.

Our Values

MLUI’s staff and Board of Directors are committed to the following core values:  

INTEGRITY. We are passionate advocates with the poise of professionals who embrace honesty, humility, and civility at all times. We base our positions on facts, and we double and triple check them for the highest standards of accuracy.

INCLUSIVITY. We recognize that diverse collaboration and unconventional partnerships bring the strength and breadth to move our mission. We seek to unite non-traditional allies and we make a special effort to engage those who are often underrepresented, so that all can have a voice and together we achieve broad-based solutions.

CLEAR COMMUNICATION. We believe communicating a clear and compelling message is essential to creating change. We maintain a standard of excellence in all our communication.

COMMITMENT TO RESULTS. We believe there is an answer to every situation that benefits people, communities, the economy, and the environment. Being on the “right” side is not good enough. We believe we can work with people from all walks of life to “get to yes.” We set ambitious goals, make them known publicly, and measure our progress toward achieving them.


MLUI: Real. Solutions. Now

Milliken Reception 2011



Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
e comments@mlui.org