The Windsor Law Centre for Cities welcomes Michigan sustainable planning expert Jim Tischler as first Visiting Fellow

Our location on the Canada/US border affords the Windsor Law Centre for Cities the opportunity to support cross-border dialogue, partnerships, and expertise-sharing on the policy tools of inclusive and sustainable cities.  We are very pleased to announce our first Visiting Fellow, Michigan-based land use planning expert James Tischler, FAICP, PCP, MCIP-I

Jim presently serves as Development Director for the State of Michigan Land Bank Authority.  In this role, he leads the agency’s land and project development and redevelopment operations, organizes and manages agency and inter-agency teams, coordinates State-sponsored development and redevelopment projects and consults regional/local development and land bank entities in their projects.

Jim also previously served as the State of Michigan’s Community Development Policy Director, leading formation and design of the Michigan Placemaking Initiative and redesign and advancement of the State’s technical and financial assistance programs to implement its directives.  He has 34 years of experience in the fields of urban planning, real estate, community/economic development, and redevelopment, working for public organizations and consulting with private sector firms. 

Jim holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from Wayne State University and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.  Certifications include Fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners, Michigan Professional Community Planner, and International-Status in the Canadian Institute of Planners.  He is a member of the American Planning Association and Michigan Association of Planning, the International Seminar on Urban Form, Board Treasurer of Downtown Lansing, Inc., and Board Secretary for the Lansing Regional SmartZone organization.

Among other contributions as Visiting Fellow, Jim is working with the students of the Windsor Law Cities and Climate Action policy clinic on a project related to participatory governance and charrette-based public consultation in municipal climate action. 

We are delighted that Jim will share his vast planning and land management experience with our students and the Windsor-Essex and Canadian urban governance and planning communities.

A list of some of Jim’s professional achievements follows.  Welcome Jim!

Distinguished Accomplishments

  • Elected to the College of AICP Fellows in 2016.
  • Originator of the Placemaking Curriculum for the State of Michigan, in which over 15,000 practitioners and community planners have used a common template to gain critical knowledge and experience of planning through the practice of placemaking. This curriculum has been presented in four other states.
  • Highest-level certified planner in Michigan state government.  Designated as the State’s Development Lead by Governor’s office to personally lead inter-agency projects in the state (including Kalamazoo, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Marquette).
  • Workgroup leader for the committee responsible for initiating legislative amendments to the Michigan Brownfield Program in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2014.  Presently lead for research/testing/evaluation on options for combining the state of Michigan’s brownfields and land banking programs.
  • Developed brownfield programs for Adrian, Clare, Monroe, Mount Pleasant and Wyandotte (MI), and St. Albans (VT).
  • Presently assisting Maine organize its joint land banking/redevelopment program and the Canadian Brownfields Network in expanding use of project-based tax increment financing (TIF) for redevelopment.
  • Organized, led, or facilitated more than fifty (50) rehabilitation or redevelopment projects on brownfield sites.  Assisted in development of the brownfield planning model currently in use by local units in Michigan.
  • Wrote and commenced action plans for the Frenchtown Settlement/River Raisin National Battlefield Park, the first reclaimed brownfield site to be incorporated as part of the National Park System.
  • Lead planner for the award-winning Mason Run brownfield redevelopment project, based on Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) principles and one of the largest New Urbanism projects in the nation constructed on a brownfield site.
  • Founding chairperson of the Downriver Area (MI) Brownfield Consortium, an inter-municipal assessment/redevelopment collaboration that facilitated $63 million in new private investment and has received more than $10 million in federal (USEPA) and State funding investments.
  • Co-Planner for the Peninsula Neighborhood, the first New Urbanist and Form-Based Code project in Iowa. 
  • Initiated the first Form-Based Codes in Vermont and assisted the State with amending its planning grant programs to fund local form-based code projects.
  • Planner for redevelopment of the Borden Creamery building in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, for which he and the project received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.
  • Co-founder and Board Emeritus member of the CNU Michigan Chapter.
  • Recent Board member of the Form-Based Codes Institute and long-time advocate for adoption of Form-Based Codes in communities across the country.
  • Board Member of APA/Michigan during its merger with the Michigan Society of Planning Officials to create one of the largest state planning organization in the country.
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