Cool towns: Unexpectedness – does it get and hold your interest?

Continuing our look at Made to Stick’s Six Principles of Sticky Ideas on how to build cool places

The second principle is Unexpectedness. This is the first principle in Step Two: Telling Others, with Step One presented in the previous entry. This is the principle that compels us to watch a movie or game from beginning to end.

How do you get and maintain people’s interest in building cool places? It’s about taking what people don’t know they don’t know (ie the hundreds of hidden places dispersed throughout the world that one wishes were in their own neighborhood) and letting them know they exist. It’s about presenting an ever clearer vision of what their next home, workplace or hangout looks like, but only if they participate.

It’s about knowing that in the end there will be a built place that captures many of the characteristics they dreamed of, but they won’t get to touch, taste, smell or truly see it unless they’re engaged in the process all the way through.

It’s the excitement of asking ‘what if’ while knowing someone’s listening, and the mystery of not knowing how the story will end. In the image above, the local L.A. community wanted the first full-service market downtown, as well as convenience stores and loft housing. Can it all be achieved in one building? What will it look like? Which businesses will be chosen?…

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