Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Smart city? Raleigh wins round 1

They may think they're so smart in the Capital City and the Bull City (aka RDU) but the QC has something up its sleeve. More on that below.

First, if you haven't seen this, it's a fun survey from the blog, The Daily Beast. Today even the august Observer editorial board weighed in.
The Daily Beast has ranked a bunch of cities as "America's Smartest Cities" and our Tar Heel colleague up I-85 snagged first place. Raleigh-Durham, says the Beast, "has just about every intangible useful in attracting and developing a smart populace: It’s a university hub, including two of the nation’s elite schools (Duke and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and those schools led to one of the nation’s great technology incubators (Research Triangle). On top of that, Raleigh, as the state’s capital, attracts engaged political minds, as well." (You may insert favorite joke here about Raleigh politicians.)

Charlotte hit No. 16 – sort of, well, unremarkable. We were deemed less smart than Hartford-New Haven, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Salt Lake City (ouch). But we bested Hotlanta (No. 23) as well as No. 30, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek (but where's the sport in that?), and Greensboro and Jacksonville, Fla., tied for No. 37.

Here's what the editorial board had to say. One might say we were bemused, and noted the lack of mention of N.C. State.

But remember that hornets nest? The Queen City is a fighter. So if you are interested in seeing this region become smarter – catch up to Baltimore, anyone? – consider this Oct. 15 event: "A Smarter Charlotte."

A group of people put together by Mark Peres (above, right) of the online magazine Charlotte Viewpoint and Tom Low (right) of Civic by Design will host, "A Smarter Charlotte: Enhancing Our Community Intelligence for the 21st Century." It's 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the just-will-have-opened Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture at South Tryon and Stonewall streets. Tickets cost $20, which includes refreshments. For an agenda and to register, click here.

"Good things occur when good people convene in the right way," say the organizers.


consultant said...

Atlanta would have ranked higher, but our streets are so confusing that even smart people get lost trying to find events.

In metro Atlanta, you need a map, gun and 3 extra hours to get anywhere. And this is for the people who live here.

Mary Newsom said...

OK, I have to weigh in. I've lived in both Charlotte and Atlanta and Charlotte's streets are far more confusing. I'll put the Q2P2 intersection up against all those Peachtrees any time.

Anonymous said...

This survey doesn't surprise me. We are, after all, the only city in NC whose politicians are dumber than Raleigh's. And how dumb are we as citizens, since we continue to elect the same dumb politicians to office over and over and over again?

We have a lot of work to do.

consultant said...

There are 71 Peachtrees in Atlanta, but most of them are on our numerous short dead end streets. And no one confuses them for the main one.

Charlotte is somewhat confusing, but metro Atlanta streets have confusion down to a science. We are the king of confusion.

There is NO order to the numbering of streets. Not much connects (way too many dead ends), many streets have no street signs, only in a few neighborhoods (in parts of the city and a few older suburbs) can you "drive around a block". Many, many areas don't have sidewalks. And the biggest complaint, most street names, on the same street, change every 3 or 4 blocks. The result is there are so many names, no one can remember all of them, so no one does.

We've lived here 20 years and I can't tell someone how to get from here to there by the street names.

No one can.

As an old Atlantan once said, if you don't know how to get to where you want to go, maybe you shouldn't go there.

Metro Atlanta: not so smart city.

Jumper said...

My trick is to judge a city by the difficulty of the daily Sudoku in the newspaper. Asheville is impressively smart by this standard. Upsetting to me, is that the Washington Post Sudoku is geared for the really dim bulbs... that doesn't bode well at all.

Jumper said...

My theory doesn't hold up universally. The Brits do some damnably difficult Sudokus, and seem pretty smart to me, with the breaking of the Enigma code and all that.

Here, however, we see some very, very stupid Englishmen:

Anonymous said...

I've always found Atlanta very easy to get around: if MARTA doesn't go there, no need to bother.

Anonymous said...

I judge a city by quality of life. Taxes, schools, and crime rate.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

And without busing, Wake County can soon rival CMS, having good schools in a few areas (South Charlotte and North Meck here, North Raleigh there), but bad schools everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

We're pretty dumb to keep letting all the criminals out of the pokey and then say, "we didn't know that anyone would be in danger," after the criminal does indeed commit subsequent crimes. We're also dumb about:
*Bruton Smith's Demands
*School Planning
*Fixing Roads
*Being flaky and fickle about Restaurants
*Having too many muffy, buffy and biffs run important groups and organizations.

Anonymous said...

What's a muffy, buffy, biff ?
Up North we call it the mafia.

Anonymous said...

God Dam

Does Charlotte have to have a conference or meeting about "Why we aren't this" or "How we are supposed to do that"

Talk about insecurity.


Let's have a meeting about how Charlotte can be more vapid!

Anonymous said...

For those who like sudoku puzzles :