America’s Coolest Cities

rock and roll musician Lou Reed

This July was the hottest on record in the U.S. and 2012 is on track to be our hottest year ever. You better believe Americans are cranking the A/C and heading for the swimming holes.

But when it comes to my “cool cities” study, I’m talking about the other kind of cool.  The sunglasses, Levi’s and t-shirt James Dean cool.

I worked with Forbes with their article to find where the youth of America are headed, where it’s “happening.”  Would you believe Houston comes out on top?  Last year H-town sported a vigorous 2.6% job growth while welcoming over 50,000 new residents to the area, many of them young professionals.

We looked at recreational opportunities, such as amount of green space, golfing and skiing, and pro and college sports teams.

We also used my Diversity Index, which measures the likelihood that someone you meet will be of different race or ethnicity.  Higher diversity translates to a greater number of cool stores, events, and eateries.

Continue reading “America’s Coolest Cities”

Washington Post – DC Gains Urban Hipsters

I was asked by the Post to explain why the DC metro has suddenly gained so many 25-34 year olds.  According to the Census Bureau, DC is now right up there with hipster havens like Austin and Portland (Oregon).

DC Area Gains Young Adults

Reporter Carol Morello asked me, “Does this mean Washington is now ‘cool’?”

My answer was, “Umm, sorry, no.”  I explained, it’s a simple case of economics.  The DC area has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. along large metro areas.  Young people are flocking to where the jobs are.

Bill Frey, of the Brookings Institution, also chimed in, agreeing that it’s the economy, but also stating that DC has a “certain vibe.”

My quote in the article spoke about each place has its own identity or brand, and Washington’s is one of government and power.  “I don’t know if you want your seat of government to be too cool and quirky.”

Sort of like, you don’t want to find out your heart surgeon also does stand-up comedy.