Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pockets Of Cool Geography

Maps are abstractions of place, not objective representations. For sake of practicality, a small area will be used to stereotype an entire region. The approach cuts both ways. Not all of Austin or Portland is weird. But the pockets of eccentric behavior come to define both cities. The information left off of the mental map is beneficial. For Rust Belt cities, the opposite is true:

The Detroit that natives love, share and thrive in is a story that had to be told. Our heritage is one of design and technical leadership and on this platform we hold our own on an international stage. This foundation, generated by the mighty auto industry, has laid the groundwork for world class art, culture, science and technology. Our infrastructure feeds innovation. From our diverse backgrounds and the multitude of cultures that make Detroit so dimensional comes a very unique rhythm … so many “pockets of cool.”

Our Pockets of Cool initiative uses video stories, called vidbits, to tell the story of the pockets of people and places that make Detroit unique and personalize how Detroiters see the city … with pride of place. These are the people that feed our passions with great style.

Specific neighborhoods tend to be the main attraction when twentysomethings make a relocation decision. To be sure, there are regional considerations such as economic vitality. More importantly, you want to be where the action is, where like-minded people live. Who's your neighborhood?

The mesofacts are working against Detroit. Popular geographic abstractions turn pockets of cool into fairy tales told by boosters desperate to fix a broken city. We've seen the ruin porn. We know Detroit. We won't move there.

Detroit has pockets that I think are cooler than anything you will find in either Austin or Portland. That doesn't mean Detroit > Portland. On the whole, Austin and Portland are a lot better off than Detroit. Also on the whole, that doesn't matter to twentysomethings. Detroit has the assets to attract young talent. Detroit has a competitive advantage:

Kerry Doman - Pockets of Cool #5 from Pockets of Cool on Vimeo.

No comments: