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GRDadof3

Is the term "cool city" a dead one?

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This is a great editorial piece in Salon. If you read deeper than the first few paragraphs, what Will Doig is questioning is a good one: Do cool cities grow from a prescribed list of "must haves": ie, bike lanes, placemaking initiatives, downtown lofts, young hipsters, etc..? Or do fast growing cities (from other economic activity) just attract those desirable young professionals (the creative class)?

http://www.salon.com...on_is_not_cool/

This article is good too:

http://www.salon.com/2012/07/13/hipsters_wont_save_us/

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A couple years ago cities starting calling them selfs cool. They did it to attract young people

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I'll take B: " fast growing cities (from other economic activity) just attract those desirable young professionals (the creative class)"

A city that thinks it will be cool just by calling itself cool is as genuine as Pat Boone calling himself "metal".

pat-boone-456-102810.jpg

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My cynical take: The "creative class" is useful, but not for making a city "cool." All of this urban buzzword mumbo-jumbo seems to be attractive to broke hipsters, which is about its sole merit. What they do is take up residence in crime-ridden areas where rent is cheap (since they have no money for rent), walk around and ride bikes (since they have no money for cars), and thereby drive out some of the criminals, gang bangers, and thugs. With less crime, others who actually have money build hipster coffee shops where before there was nothing. Or, possibly, a few hipsters will pool their meager funds and start a co-op. This can make a real difference. These places then hire the hipsters as waiters and bar tenders and what-not. Then more businesses come. You get even more people out on the street and the place becomes welcoming. Who ever felt threatened by a hipster? Sprinkle in a Ren Zone here or there, and you might just bring back a whole commercial district. You might even see a Ferrari parked on Wealthy or Cherry, at which point you'll know it all will be just fine... Then the hippies can't afford the rent, and (ideally) move on to the next block ... say, Division? ...and so it goes.

So, yes. Cool cities are great if you can be one and need to be, which we can and do, respectively. :)

Edited by x99

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My cynical take: The "creative class" is useful, but not for making a city "cool." All of this urban buzzword mumbo-jumbo seems to be attractive to broke hipsters, which is about its sole merit. What they do is take up residence in crime-ridden areas where rent is cheap (since they have no money for rent), walk around and ride bikes (since they have no money for cars), and thereby drive out some of the criminals, gang bangers, and thugs. With less crime, others who actually have money build hipster coffee shops where before there was nothing. Or, possibly, a few hipsters will pool their meager funds and start a co-op. This can make a real difference. These places then hire the hipsters as waiters and bar tenders and what-not. Then more businesses come. You get even more people out on the street and the place becomes welcoming. Who ever felt threatened by a hipster? Sprinkle in a Ren Zone here or there, and you might just bring back a whole commercial district. You might even see a Ferrari parked on Wealthy or Cherry, at which point you'll know it all will be just fine... Then the hippies can't afford the rent, and (ideally) move on to the next block ... say, Division? ...and so it goes.

So, yes. Cool cities are great if you can be one and need to be, which we can and do, respectively. :)

:rofl:

This is the post of the day! Living right smack in the middle of the land of hipsters, urban bikers, occasional Ferraris, and a ton of Prius-ses, this almost reads like a history of the UpTown area!

Also, while I've never felt threatened by a hipster (you do occasionally want to give them a good smack sometimes), My wife and I (a couple of dull Gen-Xers) love to go to coffee houses and laugh at their conversations with each other. They are so adorable.

Edited by GR_Urbanist

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:rofl:

This is the post of the day! Living right smack in the middle of the land of hipsters, urban bikers, occasional Ferraris, and a ton of Prius-ses, this almost reads like a history of the UpTown area!

Also, while I've felt threatened by a hipster (you do occasionally want to give them a good smack sometimes), My wife and I (a couple of dull Gen-Xers) love to go to coffee houses and laugh at their conversations with each other. They are so adorable.

Most of the hipsters I know have no money. But a lot of them seem to wear their poverty, uneven facial hair and neck tattoos with pride.

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This is a great editorial piece in Salon. If you read deeper than the first few paragraphs, what Will Doig is questioning is a good one: Do cool cities grow from a prescribed list of "must haves": ie, bike lanes, placemaking initiatives, downtown lofts, young hipsters, etc..? Or do fast growing cities (from other economic activity) just attract those desirable young professionals (the creative class)?

My read is the interest in hipsters, the creative class, and "coolness" is really a discussion on cultural and economic relevancy in a quickly-changing world. Each generation seems to have large counter-culture that mainstream Americans love to hate and hate to love -- critiques of hipsters are no different. To this forum, the issue at hand is how does Grand Rapids remain fresh, exciting, engaging, enlivening, vibrant, and thriving into the future. In my mind, hipster culture is certainly not going to solve GR's ills, but they gladly add a bit of creativity, insight and color to an always evolving community.

GRDadof3, please read this follow-up synthesis of the Salon article.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/57766

"Once you get past the thin beer, Goodwill clothes, vague income sources, hipsterism depends in large part on self-reliance. It's not a heroic, Emersonian self-reliance. It is, rather, a self-reliance of resignation. The DIY ethos governs everything from hipster cooking to the hipster economy. Computer programs and artisanal whatnots spring likewise from the individual mind and hand. So do those whisky shots and the all-night jam sessions. If some of this creativity leaks out into the greater economy, creating jobs where venture capital firms and Fortune 500 companies cannot, so be it.

I grew up a half-generation removed from hipsters, so I can’t claim to be inside the mind of everyone in Williamsburg. But it’s not hard to imagine that hipsters are resigned to living with a government and a mainstream economy that refuses to solve those "pressing problems" that Doig invokes. Pick your issue: climate change, health care, the drug war, education, real wars, campaign finance, civil liberties, the justice system, corporatism, the financial crisis, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, the 1%, the 99%.... whatever. Cataclysms loom so large that only a massive entity, on the scale of a government, can address them. Hipsters can't help but distract themselves from these problems, because what else can they possibly do?

I don't find this attitude admirable, but I certainly find it understandable. "

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Does cool have to automatically equal "hipster"? If I want to know what the hipsters are up to, I read the Weekly Hipster Douchebag Update... otherwise known as Rapid Growth. Which I read ironically... natch.

*** Adjusts oversize thick-rimmed glasses, takes sip of Pabst Blue Ribbon ***

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Seems to me that the "creative class" is description of a cohort of those under 40 with a certain type of higher educational attainment and/or profession.

Cool is a description to describe vibrant, authentic neighborhoods or cities.

Hipsters are a sub-culture that can be found in each of the above, but not necessarily.

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My read is the interest in hipsters, the creative class, and "coolness" is really a discussion on cultural and economic relevancy in a quickly-changing world. Each generation seems to have large counter-culture that mainstream Americans love to hate and hate to love -- critiques of hipsters are no different. To this forum, the issue at hand is how does Grand Rapids remain fresh, exciting, engaging, enlivening, vibrant, and thriving into the future. In my mind, hipster culture is certainly not going to solve GR's ills, but they gladly add a bit of creativity, insight and color to an always evolving community.

GRDadof3, please read this follow-up synthesis of the Salon article.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/57766

"Once you get past the thin beer, Goodwill clothes, vague income sources, hipsterism depends in large part on self-reliance. It's not a heroic, Emersonian self-reliance. It is, rather, a self-reliance of resignation. The DIY ethos governs everything from hipster cooking to the hipster economy. Computer programs and artisanal whatnots spring likewise from the individual mind and hand. So do those whisky shots and the all-night jam sessions. If some of this creativity leaks out into the greater economy, creating jobs where venture capital firms and Fortune 500 companies cannot, so be it.

I grew up a half-generation removed from hipsters, so I can’t claim to be inside the mind of everyone in Williamsburg. But it’s not hard to imagine that hipsters are resigned to living with a government and a mainstream economy that refuses to solve those "pressing problems" that Doig invokes. Pick your issue: climate change, health care, the drug war, education, real wars, campaign finance, civil liberties, the justice system, corporatism, the financial crisis, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, the 1%, the 99%.... whatever. Cataclysms loom so large that only a massive entity, on the scale of a government, can address them. Hipsters can't help but distract themselves from these problems, because what else can they possibly do?

I don't find this attitude admirable, but I certainly find it understandable. "

I'm certainly not knocking the mere existence of hipsters. Not at all. But we're going on about 10 years of major economic development initiatives geared toward attracting the "creative class", to create "cool cities," with not scant evidence that it works. I think that's what is starting to percolate up in more and more discussions amongst economic development and planning folk.

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I'm certainly not knocking the mere existence of hipsters. Not at all. But we're going on about 10 years of major economic development initiatives geared toward attracting the "creative class", to create "cool cities," with not scant evidence that it works. I think that's what is starting to percolate up in more and more discussions amongst economic development and planning folk.

I would hardly state "scant evidence" look at east hills. it seems to have changed a lot over the past 10 years. I don't know if you can say that the cool cities initiatives were solely responsible but every little bit helps.

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I would hardly state "scant evidence" look at east hills. it seems to have changed a lot over the past 10 years. I don't know if you can say that the cool cities initiatives were solely responsible but every little bit helps.

I don't know that East Hills was part of any major "economic development" initiative. It grew organically, first by ICCF fixing up the Blodgett Home, and then businesses snatching up inexpensive land and spaces nearby to catch the momentum.

And most of the patrons aren't really artists, creatives or hipsters. Seems to be more EGR and Forest Hills professionals. Wealthy Street is a little different, and you could probably argue that the Ren Zone for Wealthy Street was in the spirit of the "cool cities" initiative. But is it making a big impact on GR's economy? I was actually surprised to see that the population declined in the census tract surrounding East Hills from 2000 - 2010. And most of the people I know who live in that area can't rub two nickles together (work at restaurants and bars).

Is it making as big of an impact then if, say, Pridgeon and Clay doubled their manufacturing plant a couple of miles Southwest of there?

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