public sector

InnovateGov in Detroit: Connecting the university’s most vital resource to a city’s most urgent challenges

January 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

Kesicia Dickinson, Marty Jordan, Sarah Reckhow, and Joshua Sapotichne | On July 18, 2013, the City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the largest U.S. municipality to declare bankruptcy. The city’s financial crisis had severe consequences for the day-to-day operations of city government -- diminishing capacity to collect taxes, to respond to blight in neighborhoods, and to provide a baseline of public services and social supports. Through the InnovateGov program, we have developed a way to connect Michigan State University’s (MSU) most vital resource -- talented and motivated students -- to local government agencies and nonprofits charged with governing post-bankruptcy Detroit. Our students work on projects directly contributing to service delivery and resident engagement in a city where fiscal cuts have drained human capital and the benefits of a downtown resurgence have scarcely touched many of the city’s neighborhoods. Read More

Shifting Agendas: Private Consultants and Public Planning Policy

June 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

Orly Linovski | Urban planning is often thought of as a public sector activity, despite the increasing role and influence of private-sector consultants. Consultants are involved in many stages of the planning process, including undertaking policy reviews; creating long-range plans and strategies; and, designing and implementing public engagement strategies. Planning consultants often straddle the private and public spheres, working for both government and private clients. This raises questions about how private-sector planners balance competing goals, as well as the democratic legitimacy and accountability of the planning processes they undertake. While consultants have been involved in planning since the early days of the profession, the reduced capacity that many municipalities currently face makes it critical to examine the impacts that outsourcing and privatization may have on planning processes. For local governments that have traditionally seen planning as a public-sector activity, these changes can undermine both the public interest and the relationship between citizens and decision-makers. Read More