For anyone who doesn't live in Ann Arbor (A2 to the initiated), this town has one, ok two, huge problems. The first one is that residents (which around here means "non-students") don't like the University. Oh sure, they love football and being able to say they live in Ann Arbor, Home of The University of Michigan, but they really, secretly, hate the damned University. All that traffic, all those students, all that lost tax revenue. It's enough to drive a socially-over-conscious-fiscal-conservative mad.
The second problem is related to the first. See, residents outwardly love the University so much, more and more students keep coming here. From everywhere. And (and this is the worst part), some of them aren't rich. I know, it's awful. So, some people in the city thought if they build affordable housing, more students will not only come here, but maybe talented people will stay or come and work here, too. I know, it's crazy, but they've been told that it works elsewhere.
Enter the residents again. In order to build affordable housing, you have build affordable housing. Somewhere. Which leads to the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) scenario. Ann Arbor is Overrated (it's a blog and a statement) has one of the best quotes ever to sum up everything that is wrong with A2.
What could happen if their concerns [on development issues] are overlooked? "What happens is that more and more affordable housing keeps coming, and the risk is that you could just create a ghetto of some sort," [Judith Marks, the president of the West Liberty Homeowners Association] says (emphasis ours.)
Lovely. Someone in A2 has actually found a way to turn a liberal buzzphrase into a euphemism for "projects". Read the comments being left on AAiOR for the reaction from some business owners about why the fight the neighborhoods are putting up is futile and ultimately counter to their desires. It's a beautiful switlie to the collective snooty head of this town.