Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

Micro-urban Champaign-Urbana

Monday, June 21st, 2010

“Champaign-Urbana. smart. innovative. micro-urban.” This video, produced by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at U Illinois, was inspired by Director Mike Ross’s notion of Champaign-Urbana as a micro-urban community: one energized by creative and intellectual synergies that cross between community and campus. A thriving CU Pecha Kucha is one example of our grassroots cultural vitality.

Sent by Kelly from Champaign-Urbana, IL

Integration with a Global City

Friday, March 19th, 2010

map_cta_trainMy beat is Chicago and the city just across the city line to the north, Evanston. I live in Chicago, and in the course of the past 15 years have done two separate stints working up in Evanston. I’ve been amazed at the degree of economic and lifestyle integration that is achieved by dint of Evanston’s high degree of mass transit connection to Chicago. A special express train (the Purple Line) runs during the morning and afternoon rush, so that the centers of Evanston are within minutes of the Chicago Loop. Evanston also has all-day fast connectivity via the METRA commuter rail.

I have had occasion in the past to marvel at how Japan uses complementary rail systems to achieve a massive degree of connectivity across the entire Kanto region (Osaka < – > Tokyo). The Chicago-Evanston connection is an example to me of a single link that demonstrates that we can do it here, too!

I wonder what it would take to extend this lesson across the entire regional rail system in the Chicago region!!

Sent by Joe from Chicago and Evanston, IL

Unemployed & Uncertain

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I am a frustrated 27 year old white male. Why? I am a single Certified Public Accountant who cannot find work within an hour of where I live one would expect for CPA.

First career. I live in a small town in central Illinois, near 5 small metros. I passed the CPA Exam last November. I have been overqualified for each position I have had since May 2004. I lasted 5 months in that position. It was a state government position & lost it because the management felt I was too introverted to represent the agency. On May 6, I lost my job. It was scheduled to be a two-month temporary position reconciling invoice payment postings to bank deposits, but lasted 11 months. The company had decided to make it a full-time position. I believe the reason they did not hire me full-time was due to the fact that when I was first asked about my career goals I spoke of long term goals, such as starting my own accounting firm or some other way to make my career path more like a typical CPA. This position did not request a college degree, paid /hour, & reached the point of being so easy it’s boring months ago. I found out I lost my job by phone call on commute home from work. I now find myself unemployed & looking for a new position. I am on the verge of giving of hope of having a typical CPA career path in central Illinois. I have used Google & contacted the AICPA trying to find where CPAs are most in demand without a satisfactory answer.

Second personal. I feel rooted. I do not want to leave the area, but also feel career interests may force me out. I prefer smaller cities, such as the 5 metros in central Illinois. Since leaving college, I have lived in two other cities, each time failing to become part of an urban tribe. The failure to join an urban tribe twice, combined with success joining not-so-urban tribes in my hometown may be the primary force behind why I feel rooted. Childhood friends are the linchpin of my associations in my not-so-urban tribes. Also, I am unwillingly single. The singles map gives me a hesitation about moving to Peoria & Champaign, Illinois, I didn’t previously have, though still optimistic about Springfield, Illinois. It does make me optimistic about St. Louis except the job postings appear no scant in St. Louis. A move to St. Louis would be 130 miles from home, enough to leave me seeing far less of my not-so-urban tribe & my mother. I have been to Chicago several times & do not like it. Chicago has a certain blandness to me, crowded, and awful traffic & congestion.

Right now, most of my thoughts of leaving central Illinois focus on St. Louis for its proximity to central Illinois, cost of living, & mating market and Washington, DC for its low unemployment rates, much higher level of job postings for accountants, & mating market, even though I don’t know if I can tolerate a city with such terrible traffic & congestion. I am still interested in finding alternatives.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Sent by Ken from Lincoln, Illinois

Living in Chicago

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I moved here 6 years ago and bought a condo four years ago. I live in Oak Park, right across the street from Chicago proper. The weather here sucks 4 to 6 months out of the year, the public transportation that people rave about is dirty, old, and the majority of people who ride the train are not professionals. It’s expensive and property values just tanked. Racial integration here is a joke compared to Los Angeles (where I lived for 17 years before moving…I’m white). I grew up in WI and thought I wanted to be closer to my family. I need to move. Just an fyi to those considering a move to Chicago. The people are nice though.

Sent by Shirley from 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

Who’s Your Chi-Pitts?

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Here’s an excerpt of an interview where I discuss some of my favorite Midwest cities – from Dayton to Pittsburgh by Tracy Certo of Pop City and Soapbox:

Help me better understand the connection between living in a powerful mega-region like Chi-Pitts but in a city in that region that’s in transition.

Chicago’s growth really sucked up all of the services and headquarters functions and lawyering and financial and accountancy that used to be done in the Detroits, the Pittsburghs, the Cincinnatis, the Akrons, the Toledos. Chicago has become in a way the business and financial center for the Chi-Pitts regions, and it’s become extraordinarily expensive.

So, one can make quite a nice life in a Cincinnati if they find ways to connect to that Chi-Pitts mega region. The places in the mega region that are really at an advantage are places like Ann Arbor. So, the college towns in that mega region have a particular advantage.

How can a city in this mega-region, like Cincinnati, Detroit or Pittsburgh, better compete in the global economy? Is it a matter of amenities or mindset or both?

First of all, I think they all have this great advantage, in a nearly 2 trillion dollar mega region which is one of the most innovative on the planet. They’re also close to the second largest mega-region on the planet, the number one in North America which is the Bos-Wash (Boston-Washington). The question is how do they want to compete?

I was just in Cincinnati and in Dayton, another city I love. They’re historical centers of innovation, every one from steel innovation to aluminum innovation, to electronics, to the Wright Brothers, to the car. This is one of the greatest innovative and entrepreneurial centers in the world. They have probably one of the greatest clusters of universities, in the history of the planet. They’re producing phenomenal talent, but unfortunately, that talent leaves. So, in Rise of the Creative Class, I said the one thing that it needs to become is more open minded and tolerant. It needs to be more diverse and inclusive.

Some of that’s happening in certain parts of the region. More foreign people are moving in, though not enough, in the Cincinnatis and Pittsburghs. They’re becoming more open minded to the gay and lesbian population, though by no means, not enough. I don’t think it’s a question of making jazzier restaurants or hipper bike trails. I think it’s a question of being more open-minded.

Another thing the region suffers from is really poor leadership. And I think the reason that is, it really bears the imprint that as the economy is changing to newer things, away from manufacturing, the leadership still reflects that top-down, vertical, 1950s organization mentality so you get these conflicts between old-style democratic political machine and business-led organizations. Those conflicts become very dysfunctional. I think one of the other things is that if older cities could achieve better leadership, leadership that was more in tune with the future.

We were working with 30 community catalysts in greater Dayton a couple weeks ago and I was blown away by what’s happened in downtown Dayton. It’s a more interesting and exciting place, filled with arts and restaurants and renovated houses and buildings. But too how these thirty catalysts, black, white, young, old, Hispanic, Latino, how much they cared about making their city better. And I think that’s the kind of thing you see in parts of Ohio and Illinois, there’s this incredible sense that people care, and I think unleashing that energy in people is really key.

The rest is here.

Chicago Skyline at Night

Saturday, March 1st, 2008