Landscape analysis Lake Lansing


Landscapeanalysis: Lake Lansing

Landscape analysis, Lake Lansing

Project Site Lake Lansing

Geographic Region: Haslet, MI, Michigan

1. Settlements/communities are often located at a particular site because of the site`s industrial and/or resource potential. For example, many towns in the Appalachians were established where coal deposits existed and thus, the coal industry thrived. Were there any preexisting economic resources or advantages about your area that caused people to settle there?

Initially, people settled near Lake Lansing because of its good climate and the availability of resources, such as fresh water and food, including leeks that grew in the wild. The family of Joseph E. North was the first one to settle in Lansing after exchanging its first piece of and at Ingham in 1837 (Durant 2). The first settlers described Lake Lansing as a clear water body that was stocked with different varieties of fish, which means that fishing was also an important factor to settlers. The south shore of the lake was connected with the railway line in 1879, which the region a depot and a critical transport hub (Durant 2). This opened up the region of Lansing for further settlement. In the early nineteenth century, people started seeing the lake a significant recreation site, which turned it into a tourist attraction site. This was followed by the construction of resorts and an increasing in the population.

2. In the past, what have been the major commercial activities of your site? INCLUDE a discussion of what resources were needed for these industries and also describe what physical characteristics of your site made it an appropriate place for these activities.

The major economic activities in Lansing and the entire region of Haslett include agriculture, lumbering, and tourism (Durant 2). The transport system was a common resource that was required for each of the three economic activities. This is because there was a need to transport people as well as goods in and out of the region. The easy access to the region by the road, railway, and water was among the major physical characteristics that made Lansing an appropriate location for these economic activities. In addition, the beautiful scenery provided the Lake Lansing’s landscape, the fresh water, and the availability of different varieties of fish made the place attractive for tourism.

3. Currently, what are some of commercial activities of your chosen site? INCLUDE a discussion of what resources are needed for these industries and also describe what physical characteristics of your site make it an appropriate place for these activities. For this question, you should consider infrastructure (roads, sewers, utilities) as a physical characteristic of the site.

The region of Lansing has retained the same economic activities (including agriculture and tourism), but lumbering has reduced since a large proportion of the forest has already been cleared. However, the service industry (including the banks and insurance companies) has developed more than any other time in Lansing’s history. In addition, manufacturing factories are also increasing in numbers with time. Some of the key manufacturing companies operating in Lansing include, Eisen Fastener, Faulkner Industries, and Michigan Heartland (Manta Media Incorporation 3). The advanced transport system (including the railway and road network) has connected Lansing to other parts of the state and other states, thus promoting the development of these industries. Moreover, the sewer system that threatened the tourism industry was rectified and modernized in the 1960s, which have maintained the lake region a safer place to tour, settle, and trade (Durant 3).

4. How does your site`s economic activity influence the development near your site (e.g. establishment of towns and advancement of the community)? For this question, you should examine how site activities have influences beyond the site boundary.

Economic activities have contributed towards the development of Lake Lansing and beyond its boundaries in different ways. For example, the lake itself supplies the neighboring homes with fresh water for domestic use and factories that are located close to the site. The agricultural firms near the lake supplier residents and the neighboring areas with food. Moreover, the parks and resorts constructed in the area provide a suitable site for recreation and entertainment, which enhances the wellbeing of the people living near the lake. Additionally, the businesses operating in the lake (such as fishing) and near the lake (including resorts and agricultural projects) provide employment opportunities that enhance the economic wellbeing of the people living in Lansing. All these activities have contributed towards the economic and social growth of the city of Lansing and the state of Michigan.

5. Describe your landscape site`s contribution to the regional economy does it provide a unique economic contribution or the same as the surrounding area?

Lake Lansing has a unique contribution towards the economic development of the region. Tourists are mainly attracted by the lake itself, besides other activities (such as sailing and fishing) that take place in the lake. It is estimated Lake Lansing attracts more than 450,000 each, which contributes revenue of about $ 2.5 billion to the local as well as the state government (Fowler 3). The revenue is collected from unique activities (including the sailing, fishing games, dances, aquariums, zoos, theater, and concerts) that take place in the lake and in its shores. In addition, Lake Lansing makes some economic contributions that are similar to the surrounding areas. For example, the lake, similar to the surrounding regions has several resorts, shops, and restaurants. These activities provide revenue and job opportunities, thus boosting the economy of Lansing township and the entire state.

6. Identify any trends in economic activity for your area. For example, has there been a shift from dependence primarily on natural resource industries or an emergence of more service industry in recent years? Has there been a balance between different types of economic activity in the area over time?

There has been a significant shift from overreliance on natural resources to service and manufacturing industries. Initially, lumbering was a significant economic activity near Lake Lansing and the entire region of Haslett, but there are no forests to sustain the business since the forest cover has reduced from about 73 % to about 20 % of the total land in Lansing (Selegean 1). More banks and insurance companies have been opened in the area. Areas around the lake that were previously covered by forests have been replaced by commercial and residential buildings, which indicate that the real estate industry has become a significant economic activity. Tourism and the transport sectors are old economic activities that have been growing with time.

7. What physical characteristics of the site constrained or limited your landscape site`s usage?

The development taking place at and near Lake Lansing can be attributed to some physical characteristics, but there are other features that have limited its further development. For example, the lake itself occupies a large piece of land (485 acre) that would have been used for development projects (Fowler 1). In addition, the forest cover around the shores of the lake has been reserved and protected, which means that it cannot be cleared to bring development projects, such as commercial buildings or resorts. In addition, Lake Lansing is surrounded by several swamps (including the Southern Hardwood Swamp) that limit the use of the lake shores in infrastructural projects, such as roads and buildings (Fowler 2).

The following question requires you to consider the economic value of your site, i.e. determine what the land is worth. You may include a discussion of what criteria are used in determining the land value, or what is not considered in determining the value of land. Often there are externalities that are not considered when determining land values examples include positive externalities such as habitats and views, and negative externalities such as offsite pollution.

8. What is the land value of your site, or what are the land values within your site? Compare the land value(s) of your site with those found in the region, state, nationally, or globally.

Lake Lansing covers a land area of 485 acres or approximately 2 kilometers squared. The monetary value of the land occupied by the lake can be estimated using the monetary value of land within Lansing township or within the county of Ingham. This is because the price of land varies from county to county and from township to township. However, the available data shows that the price of land in Lansing also varies depending in different factors, such as the topography and possible commercial activities that can be carried out on the land. It is difficult to determine if the value of Lake Lansing should be equated to a real estate or an agricultural plot. National Association of Realtor indicated that the price of 6.09 acres within Lansing is $ 105,000 (17,241 per acre) and another plot of 6.18 acres in size is being sold at $ 595,000 (96,278 per acre). On average an acre of land in Lansing costs [(17,241 + 96,278) / 2] $ 56,760. Therefore, the land covered by Lake Lansing is worth $ 56,760 * 485 acres, which is equal to $ 27,528,600. The value Lake Lansing has been compared with the country or regional values because the price of land varies greatly in different states, countries, and at the global level.

9. Identify at least one positive externality, and describe its significance.

The view of Lake Lansing is the most significant positive externality that makes the landscape a unique place. The natural forests, beautiful tributaries that drain into the Lake Lansing and its gorgeous shores attract tourists from different parts of the country, who make a significant contribution towards the economic growth of Lansing. In addition, these features have contributed towards the growth of residential as well as commercial houses since people want to live in places with unique views.

10. Identify at least one negative externality, and describe its significance.

Offsite pollution is the most significant negative externality that has affected Lake Lansing and its surroundings. The increase in pollution is attributed to a rapid increase in the population, construction projects, and establishment of manufacturing plants in the area. A recent study indicated that the water content in the region has a high fecal coli-form content, chemicals as well as metals from the nearby factories, and agricultural chemicals from the nearby farms (Makenna 4). This has forced people residing in the area to drill boreholes instead of using the water from the lake and the nearby rivers.

11. Have the opportunity or constraints of your site changed over time? For example, while central Michigan had an abundance of white pines, thus an opportunity for timber industry, eventually, nearly all pines were harvested and the resultant landscape had limited timber value and the moved toward agricultural value.

Some opportunities have declined while others have increased with time. For example, the decrease in the natural forest cover has reduced opportunities for the lumbering industry, while increasing opportunities for the agricultural industry. In addition, the increase in number of recreational facilities (such as resorts) has increased opportunities for the tourism industry. However, the high population in the region has increased the level of pollution, which has reduced the quality of water in Lake Lansing, making it unsuitable for swimming.

The following questions are focused on the political context of your site.

12. Describe the political history of your site:

Initially, most of the property in Lansing was owned by the family of John North before other developers could arrive in the region. However, different sources indicate that the Lake was used by Indians as fishing and hunting site before the arrival of white settlers, most of whom came from Europe and other parts of the American colony. The land around the lake was cleared at a high rate and used for agriculture and settlements between the mid nineteenth and early twentieth centuries since the political system or the government of the time has not perceived the environmental impact of deforestation (Durant 2). In 1879, the government discovered the economic potential of the lake and linked its southern shore with a railway live. The uncontrolled development has reduced the quality of weather and water in the region over the years. This has challenged the government to form the Special Assessment District that is currently assessing the making recommendations that can help in the protection of Lake Lansing.

13. Identify a local policy that has influenced how your landscape has been or is being used. Local policies include city or township regulations/ordinances, local tax policies and local building disincentives/incentives:

The local government of Lansing township has been discouraging the construction of residential buildings while encouraging the construction of commercial facilities (such as restaurants) near the lake. The intention of this local policy is to reduce pollution from the residential houses while promoting tourism, which has more economic value to the government than the residential buildings.

14. Identify a state policy that has influenced how your landscape has been or is being used. State policies include land subdivision regulations, land preservation programs, environmental policies:

The state of Michigan has several policies that have influenced the way the Lake Lansing’s landscape is currently being used. First, the states developed plan indicates the purpose for which each piece of land can be used for. This means that the state has the land set aside for residential, commercial, agricultural, and other purposes. Therefore, the state has a significant influence on the development projects taking place around Lake Lansing. In addition, the environmental policy formulated by the state has facilitated a better organization of the tourism industry, by ensuring that each player in the tourism industry, especially in Lake Lansing has waste disposal and other environmental protection programs. This has also resulted in the protection of forest reserves, which has limited the amount of land available for development projects.

15. Identify a national policy that has influenced how your landscape has been or is being used. National policies include environmental policies such as the Clean Water Act an NEPA, national transportation policies, and federal housing programs.

The U.S. emphasizes on the significance of the transport system in facilitating business and boosting economic development in the country. In pursuit of this, the U.S. transport policy has facilitated the development of a port in the south shore of Lake Lansing, which is linked by the railway line and road networks (Durant 2). This has made the lake’s landscape a transport hub.

16. Describe a political process that influences how your landscape is used or managed?

Lake Lansing has remained a public resource since its discovery. The Indian communities used the lake as hunting and fishing site, but nobody claimed its ownership or management. After the U.S. gained her independence, the lake has remained under the management of the government of Michigan state, but the federal as well as the local leaderships contribute towards its conservation. In addition, the local government collects taxes from some of the activities taking place in the recreational and business facilities around the lake, which means that the local government also has a role to play in its management. To this end, the political leadership all levels are interested in economic activities (such as tourism, commercial buildings, and transport services) that can maximize their revenues (Durant 2).


Durant,W. Historyof Lansing Township.Philadelphia: Ensing and Company. 1847. Print.

Fowler,W. Artscontributes $ 2 billion to MI tourism.Detroit, MI: Lansing State Journal, 2015. Print.

Makenna,B. Canglory days return to Lake Lansing?Detroit, MI: City Pulse, 2015.

MantaMedia Incorporation. Manufacturing companies in Lansing. MantaMedia.2015. Web. 16 June 2015.

NationalAssociation of Realtor. Homesfor sale search results.Realtor: NAR, 2015.

Selegean,P. GrandRiver (Michigan).Detroit, MI: Great Lakes Hydraulic, 2014.