A Gaggle of Stats, Quotes and Snippets on City Issues

On a cold, dreary and relatively uninspiring Midwestern morning I offer the following food for urban thought from a presentation that I delivered yesterday. The theme, in short, is that we must create economically competitive cities and to do so we must understand what makes them flourish in a modern economy. I apologize in advance for the schizophrenic format.

On changing demographics for talent attraction:

Two-thirds of college educated 24-35 year olds choose where they want to live first and then look for a job

“Quality of place is a deep driver of talent and where it settles.  You can’t separate the two.  Talent and quality of place go hand in hand.”  Carol Coletta, ArtPlace

The percentage of 24-34 year olds who lived in the central business districts of American cities- 10% in 1980; 32% in 2010

The percentage of automotive miles driven by 21-30 year olds decreased from 20.8% of the total in 1995 to 13.7% in 2010

“Walkable urban development has pent up market demand that will take most of the next generation to satisfy.”  Christopher Leinberger , Urbanist & Author

On Governance:

Resources aren’t available like they used to be in many cities, meaning that the role of the city government  must change from one as the “life” of the party to one as the “host” of the party

“Placemaking is about turning a neighborhood, town, or city from a place you can’t wait to get through into one you never want to leave.”  Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces

The communities with the highest quality of life in the future will effectively combine placemaking, civic engagement and innovative, micro-governance

On Economics in Cities:

“The most valuable resource in the 21st century is brains.  Smart people tend to be mobile.  Watch where they go!  Because where they go, robust economic activity will follow.” Rich Karlgaard, Publisher, Forbes

The following are categories that Fast Company magazine used recently to depict the best business climates in cities across the country. Fast Company, for those not familiar with the publication, describes itself as “dedicated to reporting about how the ‘fast companies’,’ entrepreneurs, and cutting edge are doing what they are doing.”

  • Culture Front and Center
  • Venture-Capital Mind Set
  • Farm Fresh Food
  • Smart Energy
  • Renaissance Neighborhoods
  • Open Source Government
  • Car Sharing
  • Incentivized Teachers
  • Zero Emission Public Transit

Place. Talent. Quality of Life. The real economic drivers.