Monday, May 08, 2006

I is Smarter Already

by B. Strong

An article in the Ithaca Journal today celebrates Ithaca's appearance in the top ten of Kiplinger's 50 Smart Cities list.*

“I was beginning to wonder if the official motto should change from “ ‘Ithaca is Gorges' to ‘Ithaca is for Foodies,' “ [Associate Editor Scott O'Neill] said by phone from his Washington D.C. office last week. “The natural beauty was quite impressive. Taughannock Falls was very gorgeous.” ...

“If I was able to find work in Ithaca, I would love to move there,” he said. “It is very collegial and a cold-weather version of Berkeley, Calif.”

Of course, this being the Ithaca Journal, the story uses contradictory quotes (impressive natural beauty doesn't support the claim that Ithaca should change its motto from "Ithaca is Gorges" to "Ithaca is for Foodies"), fails to mention Ithaca's precise rank (8th), and doesn't list the other cities that round out the top 10 (in order, they are Nashville, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Kansas City, Asheville, Pittsburgh, and Iowa City).**

Perhaps most telling, the reporter decided not to follow up on the all-important conditional, "If I was able to find work in Ithaca..."


*A shout out to my friend Shelley for sending me the story. I've long since given up reading the Ithaca Journal.
**At the risk of generating intra-bloggerly competition, I feel it's my duty to point out that Madison did not make the top 10. It's also my duty to point out that this means Madison falls below Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh?)
Comments:
"If I could find work in Ithaca, I would live there in a heartbeat." Count me in on that sentiment.

I have heard people complain about living there, and I don't know what they are talking about. Excessive privilege, I suppose.
 
The full list is here. The original article is here. Madison is #20.

They seem to be using a special definition of "smart" (as in "smart" money) that provides some advantage to relatively dumb places. I'm less insulted at being lower-ranked than Pittsburgh than that we're both lower than Atlanta.

"Cheap" (or measured-cheap) housing seems to drive some of the selections. Along those lines, if someone would invent a functioning Star Trek-style transporter, I'd happily take over and restore my grandmother's house in Syracuse.
 
Even I wouldn't argue UW over C-Mu.

Also, Pittsburg wins big if health care is a concern.

In keeping, though, with the Urban Redevelopment discussion, I want to know how they can claim to have considered "cultural amenities and transportation" (the latter of which Atlanta has)and still rated Harrisburg, State College, and Indianapolis in the Top Twenty. There's a good reason (see "if I could find a job") those cities have low housing costs--and it links directly to lack of cultural amenities and transportation.
 
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