It starts with the standard recipe for cool: good people, good music, beer . . . but this week’s gathering hosted by the Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force will add an unusual ingredient: public policy. On Tuesday, we will host a dialogue at Arbor Brewing to begin creating value guidelines and policy recommendations for the City Council and various city agencies to attract and retain 20-34 year-olds. As people interested in Governor Granholm’s Cool Cities initiative and Mayor Hieftje’s passion to transform our city into a model of sustainability, I encourage you to spend a couple hours with us.
Despite the attractiveness of U of M and our city’s uniqueness, Ann Arbor has witnessed a steady decline in this demographic over the last decade. Equally disturbing, women in this age group appear less likely than men to want to make Ann Arbor home. Comparatively, 20-34 year olds who made up 40 percent of the city population in1990, only account for 36 percent ten years later. For us to compete with cities that are successfully attracting this new “Creative Class,” as social researcher Richard Florida terms it, Ann Arbor needs to better understand what motivates residency decisions and identify concrete policy and development advances that can reverse Ann Arbor’s trend.
I hope you will be a part of articulating the concerns and dreams of our generation and recreating Ann Arbor as a center of young culture in the new century.
What: Ann Arbor’s Cool Cities Task Force Public Dialogue
Where: The Tap Room at Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington
When: Tuesday, March 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Format: Informal discussions in small groups; Facilitated prioritization of values/issues
If you have any questions about the evening, please feel free to contact me directly or blog at http://www.astrogibs.com/coolcities
Land Programs Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912