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Re: SG-W:/ Ann Arbor Cool Cities Follow-up

I'm curious how keeping and attracting people (especially those in the prime reproductive years of their lives, as well as the age range most likely to be driving solo in their cars) is in line with moving toward a sustainable community. Do they know how to insulate houses? Run a cooperative business? Grow food? Repair things?

This effort sounds eerily in line with the tax abatement strategy of the state in recent years that has put communities in competition with each other for (near long-term) transient businesses (or in this case, workers.)

Maybe what Ann Arbor needs to "better understand" is how to appreciate and nurture the creativity of all age groups that make up its current population. Then maybe we can tell the state how to meet our needs instead of the other way around.

I'd really like to attend, but I have something else scheduled.


PS: I checked the website and the date of the event is March 16 (Tuesday), not the 19th.



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 19 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



Conan Smith

Land Programs Director

Michigan Environmental Council

119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A

Lansing, MI  48912



p. 517-487-9539

m. 743-649-2992

f. 517-487-9541