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

Louisville Rocks

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

This is a fantastic mid-sized city. It is large enough that you are always meeting new people, but small enough that you feel like it’s a close-knit community. Several diverse neighborhoods are around the city, Highlands, Crescent Hill, and Germantown, plus there are suburbs with all the chains. There is a big push to shop locally, so there are many small businesses and restaurants, from Vietnamese to Italian to Ethiopian. We have many parks and our neighborhoods are walkable with mixed uses. Public transit could be a lot better though. There are several yoga studios and the countryside with horse stables is 20 min away. Louisville accepts diversity, in my opinion, although the rest of KY isn’t as progressive. Over half of Louisville’s growth is from immigration actually. We also have a couple of universities and a minor league baseball team, a variety of art museums, and horse racing, which is quite fun, especially at the Derby each May.

Sent by Jeanne from Louisville, KY

Spokane, WA

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Spokane, Washington is an outstanding city. I grew up in the Spokane Valley, lived in downtown Spokane after college, moved away, and came back to live in a historic neighborhood on the South Hill.

We have a vibrant downtown with an expanding set of housing options (www.downtownspokane.net); four-season recreation; the beautiful Spokane River running right through the heart of downtown (www.friendsofthefalls.org); five higher education institutions, from the community colleges to a research university campus (Washington State University Spokane); cultural offerings from theater to symphony (www.spokanesymphony.org) and more; outstanding local restaurants (e.g. www.mizuna.com, www.latahbistro.com, www.catacombspub.com to name just three); historic neighborhoods with wonderful homes; a park system designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm; award-winning schools (www.spokaneschools.org); big, fun community events including the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament (www.hoopfest.org) and the largest individually timed road race (www.bloomsday.org); and an active civic culture with lots of opportunities to volunteer.

That’s just for starters. I’m a fan.

The city isn’t without its challenges, including high poverty rates in some parts of town. But the community leaders are engaged and accessible, the local Chamber of Commerce (Greater Spokane Incorporated) takes quality of life issues seriously as part of its overall agenda, and there are tremendous opportunities here.

For more:
www.visitspokane.com
www.greaterspokane.org
www.downtownspokane.net

Sent by Barb from Spokane, Washington

After 50 Years, Time to Leave Syracuse?

Friday, October 17th, 2008

My husband and I are “empty-nesters” originally from and still living in Syracuse, NY. We grew up in historic and charming villages just outside the city and I lived as a back-packing traveler for many years in my young adulthood. Together hubby and I travel whenever we can afford it, but given the difficulty of getting ahead in this city, we mostly go to where we can drive. Thankfully (and this is a plus for Syracuse: its location), that means we have often visited Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, New York City, Montreal, Boston, and many other smaller and very charming places. We’ve also been to Spain a couple times as well as the spectacular San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. My own father moved there 20 years ago. Two sisters live in Santa Barbara, CA, and another outside of Raleigh. It isn’t like we don’t have family in nice places! But our network of friends is here, and my part-time employment doing what I love, teaching languages, is here, too. So is one son and his family. The other son is in Napa job hunting with two culinary degrees from the CIA under his belt. So where to go?

We’ve stayed in part because the housing is cheap here. We own a two-family and the rental income pays most of the mortgage. But now that the last child is gone, I’m feeling restless. I’m a community activist who has been struggling with the inertia underlying this region to help keep my own first-ring suburb neighborhood (now part of the city proper) slowly developing into a decent place to live. But I keep running into those more traditional types who have been watching this region go downhill for the past 50 years. They haven’t traveled much, they don’t have any vision, and those who do – and they do exist here in Syracuse – have an uphill battle. Every improvement takes so long, city hall is full of people without degrees in the right fields, and the taxes are, indeed, killing us. So we don’t have a ton of money because we chose to stay here for so long. How to move on to a place where there are more people who like new experiences? who have some vision? who solve problems quickly and creatively? where creative types aren’t just tolerated but appreciated? Seems every housing market in the towns we like (and even those we don’t like!) is more expensive than Syracuse. How do we break the Syracuse habit?

Sent by Lonnie from Syracuse, NY

Northern Idaho

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Post Falls, Idaho is in northern Idaho, sandwiched between Coeur d Alene, Idaho and Spokane,WA. It seems that the area from Spokane,WA to Coeur d Alene, Idaho and also in a pocket to the north in Sandpoint, Idaho is a budding community for the metaphysical Christians, those that embrace God/Source/higher consciousness with a blend of New Age metaphysical beliefs. There are a number of workshops, conferences, seminars, trade shows,and practitioners with businesses along these lines. Also the traditional medical community is just beginning to recognize the body, mind, spirit connection and refer patients to local alternative/complementary healing practitioners, as well as utilize these modalities for themselves.

The mountains are nearby for bike riding, skiing, snow shoeing, camping, and there are lakes and rivers nearby for canoeing, boating, swimming. The lower income conservative people still smoke, chew, and drink a lot, but that is lessening. There is a 12 acre Kroc Center complex being built and 50% funded by the Salvation Army, scheduled to be completed April 2009 that will contain competition size swimming pools, water park, chapel/theatre, arts & crafts rooms, fitness center, community programs, etc. It will be a big plus for the community.

I would like to see a few more large companies come in to Coeur d Alene and Post Falls, ID that can offer jobs that hire and pay local college degreed/professional workers in the range of $35,000 – $50,000 per year. This area is also a budding retirement community with senior living housing and assisted living facilities sprouting up.

Sent by Judy from Post Falls, Idaho