This Michigan-based non-profit is dedicated to “helping people shape better communities through participation, education, information and the effective use of technology.” Main foci include land use, environmental, and resource management.
The Land Information Access Association (LIAA) was established in Michigan in 1993 to provide much-needed technical, geographical, educational, and informational services to private and public groups dealing with land use and community planning issues and tasks.
Main activities include research services, visioning and goal setting, asset based community development, workshops, and forum facilitation. LIAA offers other services, many technically-focused, including mapping, GIS, and web site and database development. LIAA has already compiled research on: multi-jurisdictional planning techniques and tools, zoning and other ordinances, preliminary planning studies, resource inventorying and documentation, master plans, interactive web-based governance, and project planning strategies.
LIAA develops unique community building exercises and group activities to encourage and support public participation in community asset mapping and future land use planning. Primary methods help identify and uncover hidden local resources that are potentially available to contribute to a community empowerment effort; staff is skilled in a variety of facilitation techniques.
One of LIAA’s unique projects was Building a Sense of Place. LIAA worked on this project in seven diverse locations in Michigan through early 1999. Building a Sense of Place is a community-building exercise achieved via the development of a community information system (CIS). Strengthening community identity, it fosters a general appreciation of each community’s special resources as well as providing greater public access to a broad array of digital information. The process has five major components: public relations, citizen participation, community discovery, information integration, and technology transfer.
More recently, LIAA has gotten involved in more ongoing, collaborative projects, such as Listening to the River, an environmental education project, and Partnerships for Change, a statewide initiative to develop resource-preserving land use policies. Another example of its local services is its ownership and management of the UpNorth Media Center, the studio supporting the region’s only public access television station, UpNorth TV.