I’m a sucker for travel journalism. Even better when someone can connect the dots. This piece by James Fallows on what makes cities work is a must-read.
By the time we had been to half a dozen cities, we had developed an informal checklist of the traits that distinguished a place where things seemed to work. These items are obviously different in nature, most of them are subjective, and some of them overlap. But if you tell us how a town measures up based on these standards, we can guess a lot of other things about it. In our experiences, these things were true of the cities, large or small, that were working best:
- Divisive national politics seem a distant concern.
- You can pick out the local patriots.
- “Public-private partnerships” are real.
- People know the civic story.
- They have a downtown.
- They are near a research university.
- They have, and care about, a community college.
- They have unusual schools.
- They make themselves open.
- They have big plans.
- They have craft breweries.
Source: Eleven Signs a City will Succeed