Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Who’s Your Fayetteville?

I’ve been a life-long resident of Fayetteville, AR. It’s a pretty quiet, tree-lined, college town where you can leave your car (heck, even your house) unlocked. We’ve got a lot more diversity than most of this area, thanks to the University of Arkansas. We have a smattering of the things that make a town livable and fun – live music, street festivals, art galleries, random public weirdos.But honestly, as Fayetteville has morphed and merged wit h Springdale/Rogers/Bentonville, its unique character has been diluted almost entirely away. More and more strip malls and McMansions, fewer decent jobs (but ever-higher housing prices), and more white-bread SUV drivers are making this town look like every other red-state sprawl-ville. Which, if that’s what you’re into, would make this a great place to live. But if you’re like me, and appreciate actual culture and diversity, it might not be as great as it once was.

Sent by DeLani Bartlette from Fayetteville, AR

5 Responses to “Who’s Your Fayetteville?”

  1. norm Says:

    Hi DeLani, as I read your post, I thought you were describing my newly adopted home town – Chico, CA – A relatively quiet, diverse, tree-lined, culturally rich, bike friendly college town (California State University at Chico) nestled between agricultural land (rice, Almonds, Walnuts) and the lower cascades in northern California. I moved to Chico 5 years ago to escape the craziness and busy-ness of the SF bay area. One of the BIG saving graces of Chico is that we’re well off the beaten path (nearest town is 10 miles away, pop 1900, and 100 miles from the nearest major city, Sacramento), but with all the great amenities that an isolated town of 100,000 has – major stores in a mall well away from the city center, a flourishing old-town core, lots of local coffee houses (it is a college town, afterall), great local events – farmers markets, music, theatre, a fantastic local park – Bidwell Park – that is both accessible (1 mile from downtown) as well as quite beautiful and rugged when you get up into the foothills. The town is somewhat isolated (off sleepy highway 99 and 20+ miles from busy interstate 5), and unlikely to have much urban sprawl due to the Ag green line on one side and the hills/mountains on the other side. I love it here!

  2. Rebecca Anderson Says:

    My best friend moved to Fayetteville a couple yeras ago b/c her husband is in the military. She’s originally from the Bay Area, CA. She is not impressed with Fayetteville, saying that it is mostly worn down strip malls. Seems like she has to drive 1/2 an hour to get anywhere.

  3. Anthony Clark Says:

    With all due respect, I don’t think Fayetteville has “morphed and merged” with the other towns in Northwest Arkansas at all. In fact, I think contrasting those towns makes the incredible lifestyle that Fayetteville affords stand out even more! The funky vibe of Dickson Street, the energy of the University of Arkansas campus, the walkability of downtown, and the laid back, hospitable attitudes of the residents make it a unique, enjoyable place to live. Fayetteville has cultural, shopping, and other amenities that most towns its size could never dream of thanks to the University of Arkansas (student population ~19,000) and proximity to the corporate headquarters for Wal-Mart Stores, Tyson Foods, JB Hunt, et al. The amount of philanthropic support for the arts is also unbelievable for such a small town. Washington County is the most progressive county in the state (if national elections and other indicators are to be trusted) and that is reflected in the attitudes of Fayettevillians. The yearly Pride Parade goes off without incident as does the occasional protest like the recent one to repeal Prop 8 and Act 1. The NWA Center for Equality (http://nwacenterforequality.org/) is a fledgling LGBT center that is already providing programming and support for the community. I would encourage anyone looking for a new hometown to seriously consider Fayetteville – small town pace with big city amenities!

  4. city pace Says:

    [...] will be available. … The Quad-City Times reporters who cover Bettendorf, Davenport, Scott …Who's YOUR city : Who's Your City? by Richard FloridaI would encourage anyone looking for a new hometown to seriously consider Fayetteville small town [...]

  5. KJ Says:

    I’m originally from the Chicago area and went to school at the University of Arkansas. The first couple of years, I HATED the area. It was shabby and small. The people in the town seemingly overestimated it which was frustrating.

    Then I had a revelation. I’d been comparing Fayetteville to major metro areas. If you look at Fayetteville for what it is, it really is a nice place to live.

    There are people from all over the US because of Proctor and Gamble and WalMart.
    There is an active art and music scene.
    It is fast becoming the LGBT capital of AR.
    It’s within 4 hours of Kansas City and within 5 hours of St. Louis and Dallas.
    The school systems are great.
    It’s really safe.
    It’s EXTREMELY affordable.


    It’s still a “small town,” even though the population is growing.
    Shopping is deplorable.
    There are still a lot of racists and homophobes in the area.
    There is no young professional scene.
    There is not much cultural diversity.

    Basically, if I were going to settle down and raise a family, I would consider this town. It was a great place to spend my college years, but I wouldn’t move there as a single young professional, that is unless there were several zeros involved.

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