Samuel R. Staley, Ph. D., is director of the urban futures program for the Reason Public Policy Institute, a research and educational organization based in Los Angeles, California. He is also an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Staley is the author of two books and more than three dozen articles, studies, and reports on urban development issues and policy. His work has appeared in professional journals such as the Journal of the American Planning Association, Economics of Education Review, and Planning and Development, as well as the popular press including the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Houston Chronicle, Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers across the country.

His Mackinac Center Viewpoints on suburban development and farmland preservation in Michigan have been widely reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

By Dr. Samuel R. Staley

An Open Letter to Michigan Legislators: Privatize Economic Development

Economist Samuel Staley encourages legislators to consider economic development privatization. … more

Church's Campaign Against Sprawl May Do More Harm Than Good

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has declared that so-called urban sprawl is bad, and the full moral authority of the church will be used to influence the Michigan Legislature to stop it. But church representatives could better serve Michigan citizens by engaging in a substantive, balanced debate and focusing on the programs that earned the church a well-deserved reputation for helping to stem urban decline and foster revitalization. … more

Planning for Michigan's Urban Future

State Land Use Planning: Less Is More

Elected officials in many states are gearing up to do something, almost anything, about so-called "urban sprawl." But before moving Michigan toward a more centrally planned land-use model, state policy-makers should consider why local governments and the free market are better equipped to deal with local land use issues. … more

"Urban Sprawl" and the Michigan Landscape: A Market-Oriented Approach

Government officials and environmental activists use "stopping urban sprawl" as a mantra to support greater government control over private land use decisions in Michigan through central planning aimed at farmland preservation and urban revitalization. This study critically examines suburbanization and land use in Michigan to determine that the state's economy and farmland and citizens' quality of life are not threatened by economic growth and development, or what activists have dubbed "sprawl." The study argues that restrictions on suburban growth do not address the causes of why people move out of inner cities any more than the Berlin Wall addressed the problems of East Germany's repressive socialist economy. The study concludes by recommending a market-based approach to land use policy and identifying "urban sprawl" as the natural evolution of free people pursuing peaceful ends and their shot at the American Dream. … more

Market-Oriented Approach to Farmland Preservation Best Bet for Michigan

Over ninety percent of Michigan is rural, yet environmental alarmists want government to restrict the use of land to curb the loss of farm acreage, creating a solution far worse than the perceived problem. … more

Is urban sprawl good for state? Yes

Urban Sprawl: Michigan's Bogeyman of the 1990s?

What policy makers term "urban sprawl" may actually be a sign of social progress. Lowering tax burdens, not restricting growth, is how to lure people back to our cities. … more