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Tuesday

Top 10 underrated U.S. cities

First, articles like this are annoying because they start with the supposition that NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. are the bomb for life, work and the pursuit of happiness and EVERYONE knows that.

Many cities, towns and villi ages in the U.S. are great places to live. And most are overlooked by the flyover crowd in the media.

It is a shame that anyone has such a haughty attitude because there are many wonderful places to live and work in the U.S.

The other problem I have with this article is one measure of a city's success is measured by the author.

Accolades are given based upon the artistic and cultural activities in a particular city...

..And further praise is heaped upon city leaders who have completed massive public works projects like a waterfront or downtown area restoration.

What they leave out are the real reasons why people move to another city.

If I were marketing a city like myself, I would promote compelling examples which would induce people (and companies) to relocate to my city.

For instance..

- Job base. What sorts of industries and jobs are available in a city. Is everything based upon a single industry or employer? Automotive (Detroit) or government (Washington D.C.), for instance. Diversification of jobs is good.

- Now, how stable is the job base? How long have key industries and employers been in an area? Are there new jobs and opportunities? How many are private based versus public works opportunities? Is there a chance that one or more key industries will be relocating to other cities, regions or countries?

- What is the real cost of living? Is the average wage for a family of four sufficient for good housing, taxes, utilities, etc? Or will the average wage be adequate if a 45 minute morning commute to work is included?

- Explain the tax burden to a private citizen. What are the City, State and County taxes. What are the fees for automobiles, water, trash, and various licensing?

- What percentage of the population is employed? How many are seasonally employed? What is the current unemployment rate?

- What is the ethnicity of a particular city? This matters more than people want to admit. If I was a an Orthodox Jew, a Sikh, or Buddhist, would there be a community for me? Would I be able to find the culture, religion and staples I require for daily life?

- What is the crime rate? What type of crimes are most reported? What is the city's plan and policy on reducing and preventing crime?

- Tell me about the schools. Not just the government sanctioned schools, but the private and parochial options as well. Are there viable options?

- Give me a breakdown of the neighborhoods. Where is the growth? What are the popular areas right now? Tell me about the hot neighborhoods. Tell me where the families live, the singles, the retired.. Also, tell me about the cruddy neighborhoods, the neighborhoods in transition and the steps being taken to reclaim and improve these areas.

- Who cares about the "Big Project" a city government has completed; tell me about the dozens of small projects.

All too often the focus is on the new stadium downtown or a new arts center. Most citizens "may" use these benefits once a year. Rather tell me about the little victories which make a city livable.

For instance, I read once was about the revitalization of Texas City on the Gulf Coast of Texas outside Houston. This oil refinery town was turned into a top U.S. city by through hundreds of small projects like removing graffiti, replacing broken windows in homes and storefronts, building soccer fields and planting trees downtown.

Writers of the articles above love to harp about the new urban experiences and distractions found in the "other" cities of America. But most of us care more about where we will work and how our families will live. I would love to see a story along those lines someday.

But perhaps that is too boring of a topic for the press to consider.


2 comments:

Dan Schawbel said...

If I were to market a city, I would surely focus on the number of jobs, the large corporations, tourist attractions and entertainment.

Dan Schawbel
Personal Branding Spokesman
www.personalbrandingblog.com

Jack said...

Dan,

Thank you for your comment.

It is interesting that you would consider the large corporations; my experience and economic news indicate that large employers are often not a good attraction. For instance, check out IBM, Chrysler, Ford, etc.
But to each his own.

My goal in this article is to point out that too many journalists focus on distractions ("arts") when judging a cities' worthiness. Although diversions are pleasant, as a husband and father, I am more concerned about public safety, schools, infrastructure and economic opportunities than entertainment facilities I might take advantage of once a month.
Again, thank you for your comment and for reading Marketing Me.

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