I think my fellow cool cities task force member Eugene Chan is on to something:
“Chan says what makes Ann Arbor’s college scene cool is the blending of ages.
“It is actually integrated,” Chan said. “Look at any coffee shop. StarBucks on State Street. It is these students studying. You can see residents talking about families and children and business people talking about their work. You see a whole variety of people doing their own thing in the same place.”
Ann Arbor is recognized by Granholm as a cool city because of its vibrant downtown and cultural diversity.”
I think the vague cultural phenomenon known as “cool” is in part result of diversity of age, race, and income. This is why the accessory apartments are so important: the meet a basic housing need in the city, and allow more people to live where they like, affordably. “Cool” is also a state of cultural production – frequenly the product of a fine-grained, diversified urban environment, where a variety of spaces (for a variety of costs) are available for people to live, work, and create. Thus, the destruction of the Technology Center is an example about how the city actively destroyed something which sustains the economy – tearing down an old building where entrepreneurs and artists could start businesses and create art with a low economic investment.