Support groups are built on trust and are the basis for a strong sense of community, often coming together from a striking emotional issue. Just look at what hurricanes and other selected disasters do for building community in small towns. Count rage-generating traffic congestion and massive job hemorrhages among them.
The need for CoolTown-oriented support groups arises in four areas, all manifested by the need for building a CoolTown itself:
Creatives, entrepreneurs, progressives: These are the future tenants who want to live/work/play in anything but their current choices, and get together to discuss and dream of what they could be.
Municipalities: They see jobs and talent leaving in droves, and form ad hoc groups of economic development, planning and business leaders to stop the bleeding.
Universities: Similar to above, they see students (ie potential donors, graduate school income, research park talent) leaving the ‘boring college town’ in waves, and thereby establish cross-department ad hoc groups to find the answers.
Private investors/developers: These are the people who literally build the CoolTowns, and they realize they need a team of world class designers, retail consultants, economists and market development experts to effectively understand how to build them.
Yet these support groups just about refuse to talk to one another. See image.