The Coolest US Cities
Zeppelin Real Estate Analysis Limited
it is believed that most readers would have read articles ranking cities
in terms of population size, coverage area, expensiveness,
inexpensiveness, and the like, your humble author has recently, while
surfing the Forbes website, come across city rankings based on how
cultured they are, what nightlife they offer, whether they are
attractive to singles, or how ¡§cool¡¨ they seem. Here are some of the
= mostly from the Forbes website and apparently the data and information
were based on surveys etc and analyzed with the help of research institutes
= these are a city¡¦s culture, its quality of nightlife, attractiveness to
single people, ¡§coolness¡¨, job growth, and living cost. The latter two are
comparatively more traditional aspects.
Top 20 for
each category (criteria)
= we are concerned only with the top 20 cities in each category for
practical purposes. As the top 20 cities in each of the 6 categories are not
entirely the same cities for every category, there are actually a total of
38 cities, ranging from ones which name appear in all 6 categories¡¦ top 20
to ones which name appear in just one of the 6 categories.
= Forbes generally assigns rankings from 1 (1st) to 20 (top 20th)
to the cities in each category, with some exceptions where two or more
cities may be given the same rank number, i.e. for some categories, not
every number from 1 to 20 is employed. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we
have adopted a simple calculation method and come up with an overall rank
for the cities given their performance in each of the categories.
Top 5 Cities are
= Denver-Boulder (6), New York City (4), Boston (5), San Francisco (4), and
Austin (4). The number in brackets after the names of the cities are the
number of categories the city has scored a rank and one can see that except
Denver-Boulder, none of the other Top 5 cities scored in every category.
This implies a city can also become popular via excelling in a few aspects
rather than in many. Also, while some cities are well-known, huge, and
populous, a couple of them are comparatively smaller in scale and influence.
This seems to hint that cities need not be big to be livable.
from the above mentioned overall top 5, and of the 38 cities which scored in
one or more categories, there are a dozen or so cities that scored
relatively better. Some of these are Phoenix, Sacramento, Atlanta, Houston,
Portland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia,
Washington-Baltimore, and the like. Again, there is no strong recognizable
pattern in that these cities, plus the overall top 5, could be huge or
small, east coast, mid west, or west coast, sun-belt or snow-belt, financial
or industrial etc.
The Top 5
in the ¡§cool¡¨ category
= they are Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington-Baltimore.
Not being a Post Baby-boomer, your humble author can only guess at what
coolness really means, perhaps some feeling of being ¡§in¡¨, high tech, and /
or trendy with a good mix of work and play etc.
The Top 5
in the singles category
= these are (again) Austin, New Orleans (the survey was likely taken before
the hurricane stroke as this ranking could be changed now), New York City,
Los Angeles, and San Francisco. One implication in this category is that
single people get to meet other single people relatively easy, and it comes
at no surprise that some of these cities in the category tend to be magnets
drawing in people, especially the young and skilled.
The Top 5
in the nightlife category
= these are
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. This
is not a surprise and most of these cities do offer a variety of activities
and venues including musicals, movies, and entertainment establishments.
The Top 5
in the culture category
= these are
Boston, Washington-Baltimore, Denver-Boulder, New York City, and
Philadelphia. These cities are mostly, Denver excepted, on the east coast
where the USA history started.
The Top 5
in the job growth category
= these are
Las Vegas, Austin, Orlando, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. These cities are in
the sun or at least warm belt.
The Top 5
in the living cost category
= these are Charlotte, Atlanta, Denver-Boulder, Pittsburg, and Houston. Most
cities in these categories tend to be comparatively small in scale and / or
in the more remote regions.
notwithstanding certain degree of personal preferences, the study tends to
cities do not necessarily have an edge over small cities
= and this in itself offers a good reference point for developing economies
and countries, including ones where an urbanization process is ongoing.
Blind pursue of large size and scale may not mean much in the long run.
climate does not seem to be a major hurdle to being well-ranked
= this contradicts somewhat the overall / reported trend that with an aging
population, people are emigrating from the snow-belt to the sun-belt. While
in strict people movement terms this may hold some truth, this alone does
not seem to have dampen the chance of being well-ranked for some cities with
Some of the
top cities do have good access to research and education networks
= with some of the more famous universities and research institutes being in
close proximity. For instance, Boston and San Francisco, the former is close
to the Ivy League schools such as Harvard while the latter is reasonably
close to Palo Alto and Stanford. As to whether this access to research and
educational institutes helps in being well-ranked remains to be further
Many of the
top cities do have a recognizable or distinctive character or culture
= for instance, New York City is the financial hub not only of the USA but
of the world and is a testing ground for financial guru-wannabes. The same
could be said of Los Angeles where Hollywood exerts a huge influence on
global movie making and is a testing ground for starlet-wannabes. Boston is
where USA history started (Boston Tea Party etc) and thus has an air of
culture and history about it. In short, having some distinctive image and
character seems to have helped in being well-ranged and regarded.
what makes a city ticks depends on its people who give the city its
listed below the 38 cities in descending order of their overall ranking
(from the top one 1st to 38th with the top five
highlighted in a different color):
The article and/or content contained herein are for general reference only
and are not meant to substitute for proper professional advice and/or due
diligence. The author(s) and Zeppelin, including its staff, associates,
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