Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for June, 2008

Cincy is too home-y

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I moved to Cincinnati about 2 years ago (yes, for a love….but now that’s done). I am interested in a new chapter of my life. I am young, single, and fairly outgoing. I enjoy going out to the bars, but am not much of a “clubber”. Anyone have any good ideas for a new city? I keep resorting back to home (also midwest), and I just don’t know if I am ready to move back quite yet. Cincinnati is great, if you have a significant other. There are a lot of fun things to do and cool neighborhoods to check out. It has a lot more than I ever thought it could offer, but without a “significant other”, you are an outsider. Its hard to meet people here without having a close set of friends that are Cincinnati-homegrown.

Any suggestions for new cities for young people like me?

Sent by A from Cincinnati

Chicago

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Chicago is a FANTASTIC place to live, been here all my life. The Lake Michigan, shopping, museums, bike paths, lush green forests, good transportation options, restaurants and bars! The suburbs are fantastic in their own rights, always something to do. The weather is hot, humid, sticky in the summer usually late June – early Sept. Fall is comfortable with a crisp wind. Winters are mild from Nov-Dec with little/ no snow fall. Extremley cold from Jan-March. The weather is always unpredictable.

Sent by s. from Chicago

New Perspective

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I lived, loved and laughed in gorgeous, fun and hip Eugene, OR, for 20 years. Then…I met this man (music swells.) Well, he lived here in the Tri-Cities and had a great job, so I made the compromise. I moved to a place that I thought would suck my soul dry for so many, many reasons. No green, no culture of cool, no decent artisan bread bakery…OH! the list was endless for this dry, dusty, windy void of a desert. I cried for the first 6 months solid a nd just wanted to wither and die (and pretty much felt like I was going to get my wish.)

I do not remember the moment it came to me, but on one particular day, a little after my morning tears and coffee dried up, I heard myself tell myself: girlfriend, the grace that is to be found in ANY place on earth is the grace you BRING to it. I suddenly felt incredibly selfish and utterly childish. It is true…there are great matches between the personality of a city and the preferences we have for where we live. That was my Eugene experience all the way. But this little epiphany helped me to understand that if you offer your grace to the people and place you are at any moment you begin to be the instrument of change rather than sitting back and expecting it all to be laid out banquet style for the fulfillment of your desires.

I went forth, oh children, and made this place my own. I offered “me” to it, rather than standing with hands on hips reciting the mantra, “What’s in it for me??” No, it still can’t hold a candle of cool to my beloved Eugene, but it does hold my beloved….and, as I have since discovered, a vast canvas to paint my own vista upon.

May you all bring your grace to your place…

Sent by Lynn McDougal from Kennewick, WA

A round block stuck in a square hole

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I live in Wilson, NC– a very small town that’s trying to act like a big city with a small town attitude. Even though we have a growing and thriving international population, the powers that be are dominated by the ‘ole boys club’: white males over the age of 40. Museums for adults do not exist in this town, the library is wonderful (in part due to folks who don’t live in Wilson), and a few international restaurants are starting to open. Wilson’s claim to fame is tobacco and its location: about 50 miles east of Raleigh and 40 miles west of Greenville.

I did not go through the local school system as a child. I went to a Math/Science High school in a large city, attended a Liberal Arts college, then grad school in Lexington, KY. I had to come back to help with an ailing mother, who is still alive. She wants to remain in Wilson–this is her hometown and her family is here. I’m also a math teacher.

I find a lot of native Wilsonian petty, unthinking, ultra conservative, racist (both the blacks and whites) and so religious (i.e. they can justify their racism, homophobia and hatred of strong women from the Bible). My tolerance level is hitting an all time low with such thinking. My small band of friends are not from Wilson (but live here, even though most are talking about leaving themselves), and when I want to go and see art, plays, clubs etc., I have to travel 50 miles to Raleigh.

So what city do you suggest?

Sent by Paully from Wilson, NC

My Lion City – Singa-pore

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Singapore Esplanade - Creative centre

In a nutshell, I have lived here for 4 decades since 1966 when I first set foot in Singapore after London. I wanted to run off but had to make Singapore my matrimonial home.

Like London which grew on me after one year, Singapore became more livable with the revolutionary changes taking place after gaining independence in 1965; so I am 1 year younger than Spore!

Within 10 years of inspiration (10%) and perspiration (90%), I could not have believed how Singapore without any natural resources except a hard working and educated people, could transform herself into a beautiful clean and green city with good infrastructure and a financial centre.

Now that Singapore has evolved into a first world country, our government finds it is time to inject creative energies into our city to become a mega-city.

Hence, the birth of the Esplanade , where I produced a benefit concert “L’Enfant Sauvage ” in 2004 , with great success.

Singapore to me is my ideal city, with an open mind to keep on improving to attract the talented to come and join us to sustain this amazing city, I now call home.

Sent by Ana Wang from Singapore

Eventually settling down in the South?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I grew up in Chattanooga, TN. It has a lot good going for it these days, but it’s still too conservative for my tastes. I’m sociable by nature but a minority in being a non-church-goer. My husband and I have been living the expat life for 8 solid years now (the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East and Asia). We work in international aid and development and are used to and enjoy diversity.

Eventually we will have to come back home for family reasons. Family is very important to me. I can’t stomach the idea of living in the suburbs of Atlanta, but where can we go? Is DC our only option? It’s not exactly close. If not either of these, we are likely going to have to make some career change since the work we’ve been doing seems to need an international city hub.

Sent by Kate from Amman, Jordan

Cities similar to Austin,TX

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

My wife and I are an interracial couple with two young children. We are also teachers. We love Austin because of its coolness, tolerance, and lack of chain stores. However, it has gotten too expensive to live downtown and we hear teaching jobs are hard to come by.

I have heard that Louisville is an up and coming Austin. Is this true? or would anyone know another up and coming city that has similar qualities as Austin?

Sent by Fred from Las Vegas

Denver, the cool city that hates itself

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I live in Denver, a lovely city with lots to offer. Lots of young people, parks, amazing mountains and climate, great variety of restaurants, culture, etc. What I can’t figure out is why the media voice in Denver is constantly berating the city. I wish I had a dollar for every time Denver gets called a Cowtown. It’s been a very long time since we resembled anything close to a cowtown, and yet the name remains, and it’s never used fondly.

On the creative side, there’s a site for local “creatives” called The Denver Egotist. Their tagline: Attempting to Help Denver Suck Less Daily. I hear the same kinds of sentiments from people who go snowboarding here all winter, go to tons of great shows in the spring, camp and hike all summer, interspersed with a vibrant downtown, awesome restaurants, lots of counter culture, I could go on and on.

So Denver is cool, at least for now. Its success may end up being its downfall. The city has changed so fast you can barely get a handle on it. Skyrocketing rents have altered the fabric of our coolest neighborhoods, pushing out the mom and pops and forcing out lower income folks, mostly hispanic and asian. The great little breakfast place you could walk to from my house got the boot after 30 years in the same location, told they had to move because the new landlord could now get 3x the rent. Too bad the new guys had terrible food and closed in less than a year. Also pushed out have been the convenience store, the mini grocers, the plant store, the cheap but awesome pizza place, the really great mexican place. Now we have a chocolatier, a parfumier, a mini spa, an exotic tea shop, and cutesy gift shops galore. Gone is the diversity of age and race and income. Now nearly everyone you see walking down the street is white, 25 to 35, and pushing a stroller. Of course all these folks will move to the burbs as soon as the kids are school age, the newest form of transience. Some call it white flight. Is it misguided to also see it, while they’re here, as white blight? Every time I hear of someone wanting to leave Denver, they seem to have the same issues. Can’t say I blame them, either.

Sent by Rigby from Denver

Austin vs. St. Petersburg

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I currently live in Huntington, WV, a college town, but still on the small side.

I had lived in New York city for almost 9 years, but moved back when I had my son. I am finishing up school, and am wanting to move to another city. My two choices are Austin, TX or St. Petersburg, FL.

I am looking for employment as a medical coder/health information management. Also, I am into healthy living – organic foods, yoga, holistic medicine, and am environmentally conscious. I want to live in an environment that is diverse on all levels. I need somewhere that is affordable. And finally, I want to live in a place that has good schools for my son. Does Austin or St. Petersburg live up to this?, or should i look elsewhere?

Sent by Jill from Huntington, WV

Finding a home

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Except for money, there are very few reasons why I can understand a Canadian moving to the U.S.

I was brought to Chicago from Toronto by my “American” husband. After many years I got so sickened by the racial friction in Chicago that I picked up and moved across the continent. I didn’t return to Canada because I did not believe I could afford to live in Ontario again, but I am more and more sickened by the “Americans” in general and willing to economise to improve the quality of my life.

“Ameroicans” are so convinced of their superiority in every way while being quite ignorant of what is being accomplished in the rest of the world. I am frequently made proud of what Canada and Canadians have accomplished.

I came to the Northwest to what I thought was a beautiful land, but the rule seems to be “if it moves – shoot it, if it is growing, cut it down”. The U.S. is a violent country. Canada is not. The cowboy mentality, the imperialist government have worn me down. I think I will take this old body back to the land of my birth where the quality of life is something you cannot buy with a gun.

Sent by Marilyn from Vancouver, WA