Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Pittsburgh Named Forbes Most Livable City: Your Thoughts

I really can't let this one go since the goal of this blog is to have a conversation about that very topic. From The Post Gazette.

"Each city's final score was an average of all the factors. Looking at Pittsburgh's numbers, it appears that low crime rate, active arts scene and high income growth put the city over the top. The city's score card:

Low unemployment: 73

Low crime: 15

Income growth: 20

Low cost of living: 52

Arts and leisure: 26

After Pittsburgh in the top slot, Forbes.com ranked these cities: 2) Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; 3) Provo-Orem, Utah; 4) Ann Arbor, Mich.; 5) Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; 6) Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa; 7) Manchester-Nashua, N.H.; 8) Trenton-Ewing N.J.; 9) a tie, with Lincoln, Neb., and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn."

Honestly, the small size of many of the places listed and the very high percentage of college towns, (Pittsburgh--Pitt, CMU etc, Ann Arbor-University Of Michigan (also a county seat), Ogden, Utah--Weber State Provo, Utah--Brigham Young (also a county seat) state capitals (Harrisburg, Trenton-next to Princeton) probably says more about the poor shape of America's economy than anything else. (towns near big military bases are also hanging on pretty well, with Carlisle home to a major army barracks/depot and The Army War College.)

The question for Pittsburgh's future is, can we build on this base and make it more self sustaining by making our elite universities and emerging educated workforce pay off in a much bigger way--before the spring of government cash that fuels our economy runs dry? A subject that likely involves the wider Cleveburgh, region.

One other big advantage, Pittsburgh should hype more and improve on is it's relatively low crime levels.

Here's the actual Forbes article.


Stephen Gross said...

Forbes' city rankings over the years have been increasingly ridiculous. Their methodology is never quite clear, and as a result they end up serving as propaganda pieces. I think Pittsburgh is a great city, but a "livability" comparison is really tricky.

What constitutes livability? It varies widely for many people. For some, it means cheap suburban housing with good schools. For others, it means walkability and diverse entertainment options. For others, it means high levels of civic engagement.

John Morris said...

I pretty much agree, however there are some pretty obvious objective criteria few would argue about.

Most people seem to need jobs and few enjoy being crime victims.

My guess is that the economic/ employment and income picture in the Pittsburgh region gave it an edge this year in that most places have fallen to the point at which we now look good.

I need to get back with a far more in depth post.