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Old 10-28-2010, 08:52 AM
Location: Chicago, IL
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The top 5 are clear:

New York
Washington DC
San Francisco Bay Area
Los Angeles
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:58 AM
Location: CT
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Well, like the two most obvious would be Washington and New York. But, if you're gonna save Washington and New York, would it really make sense to not save Baltimore and Philadelphia, lol. After all that, I don't see why Boston would be passed up either.

Continuing on, Chicago's way too big to ignore, well so are alotta places, but Chicago would be up there. Ok, also the Texas Triangle, yup the whole thing, and as much of SoCal and NorCal that could be saved around LA and the Bay Area. Well that was 11 cities lol, other ones could be Atlanta, and Seattle, but it's pretty hard to pick what will and won't get saved.

If it was a real war and they really could save a few prime targets, at best I think it's a given they'd at least save NYC and what ever areas they needed to finish the war, which in a nuclear war you don't really need for that long, and hope for the best for the rest of the country until the war ends in a few minutes. Areas you need to finish the war might not be near any metros at all, but places where all our missiles are sitting waiting to fire which is generally isolated. Not that they don't have a backup if even that fails, there's third strike capability with submarines.

If they could save a handful of metros I think they'd focus specifically on the major parts of the Eastern US (Parts of Texas, the coastal Northeast, Chicagoland and maybe neighboring metros and parts of the Southeast) and California for the West. Except for California, the West is "empty" compared to the rest of the country, and as for the East, well there it's a very sad game of pick and choose what you think you might need the most. The reality is, alot of the interior US would likely be left out if the government really had a chance to pick which major population centers are spared.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:05 AM
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
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Originally Posted by japster28 View Post
Lets give a scenario: if we were to be randomly nuked, what are the 10 Metro areas the gov would be on the list to be saved? My guess would be:
DC (duh)
NYC (largest metropolitan area)
Los Angeles (If they are gonna save their military bases there they might as well save LA too)
Chicago (once again, one of our biggest metros)
Bay Area (I suppose the big business of the Silicon Valley will get the govs attention)
Denver (once again, if they are saving the secret stuff in cheyenne mountain, its pretty close to Denver aint it?)
San Diego (major port and naval base)
Des Moines (I think the pres had to hide somewhere in Iowa during 9/11 )
Dallas/Fort Worth (another large metro)
Las Vegas (If the importance of area 51 is so much that the gov would care? Idk....)

This is probably a stupid thread but if you bother, thanks for posting somehin!


New York (Finance)
Chicago (Transportation/Logistics)
Houston (Energy/Oil)
Los Angeles (Media/Ports)
San Francisco (Technology)
Boston (Medicine/Education)
Atlanta (Coca Cola and Chick-Fil-A)
Philadelphia (Liberty Bell)
Dallas (Trinity Forest)
Miami (Miami Beach)
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:06 AM
Location: Chicago, IL
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Honestly, how many studies have been done on this? It's always the same cities appearing at the top, both in the US and globally.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:11 AM
Location: The mountain of Airy
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Originally Posted by Chicago South Sider View Post
Honestly, how many studies have been done on this? It's always the same cities appearing at the top, both in the US and globally.
I proposed something different (e.g. Norfolk, Honolulu) above and everyone just keeps listing what they think are the most important cities. I'm not surprised to see people listing the cities that they think are the best and most important in everyday life vs. cities that would serve as the most important for survival.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:16 AM
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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Originally Posted by Chicago South Sider View Post
Honestly, how many studies have been done on this? It's always the same cities appearing at the top, both in the US and globally.
Here is the text of a thread I started a while back:

Originally Posted by Justin O'Beirne
20th February 2010

The Most Important Cities in the United States

What are the most important cities in the United States? Or put another way, the sudden disappearance of which U.S. cities would cause the greatest impact on the rest of the U.S. and the world at large?
The question is at once interesting and controversial. Many will claim that the question is inherently subjective, even unanswerable.
I disagree.
If U.S. News & World Report can successfully rank every college in America, and if Money magazine can tell you which places (out of 1,800+) are the best in which to live, then meaningful comparisons can surely be made amongst U.S. cities.
While New York is, undoubtedly, America’s most important city, which city is the U.S.’s second most important city? What would a list of the top 5 U.S. cities look like? And what about the top 10? Which cities deserve a place on that list? Obviously, these are incredibly difficult questions.
In my quest to determine the most important American cities, I discovered a number of studies that sought to rank U.S. cities in order of importance. Some of these studies were academic, others were put together by private companies, and nearly all of them focused on economics.

According to Wikipedia, one of the first attempts to categorize and rank cities was made by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) based at the geography department of Loughborough University in the UK. Every four years, the GaWC compiles a ranked list of “Global Cities,” dividing cities into “Alpha”, “Beta”, and “Gamma” categories.

Their 2008 list is their latest and lists New York and Chicago as the U.S.’s only “Alpha” cities. The GaWC, meanwhile, classifies Los Angeles, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Miami, and Houston as the U.S.’s ”Beta” cities. Finally, the GaWC lists Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Philadelphia, Portland, Detroit, and San Deigo as the U.S.’s “Gamma” cities.

This is what the GaWC’s ranked list of U.S. cities would look like:
  • Alpha++
    • 1. New York
  • Alpha-
    • 2. Chicago
  • Beta+
    • 3. Los Angeles
    • 4. Washington
    • 5. Atlanta
    • 6. San Francisco
  • Beta
    • 7. Dallas
    • 8. Boston
    • 9. Miami
  • Beta-
    • 10. Houston
  • Gamma+
    • 11. Denver
    • 12. Minneapolis
    • 13. Seattle
  • Gamma
    • 14. Philadelphia
    • 15. Portland
    • 16. Detroit
  • Gamma-
    • 17. San Diego
The GaWC’s rankings are based on a city’s provision of “advanced producer services” such as accountancy, advertising, finance, and law. As such, the GaWC’s roster “denotes cities in which there are offices of certain multinational corporations providing financial and consulting services rather than denoting other cultural, political, and economic centers“—an obvious drawback.
Seeking to address several of the shortcomings of the GaWC’s rankings, Peter J. Taylor, a Loughborough University researcher, considered several additional cultural, political, and social dimensions excluded from the GaWC’s ranking calculations and compiled his own roster of cities in a report entitled “Leading World Cities: Empirical Evaluations of Urban Nodes in Multiple Networks.” Taylor considered the following variables in conducting his study:

Taylor concluded that there were six “global cities” and three “world cities” in the U.S. (In Taylor’s usage, the term, “world cities,” is a lesser designation than that of “global cities”.)

Here are Taylor’s findings:
  • Functionally comprehensive global cities:
    • Leading cities: New York
    • Smaller contribution and with cultural bias: Los Angeles & San Francisco
    • Incipient global cities: Boston & Chicago
  • Global niche cities (specialized global contributions):
    • Political and social: Washington
  • Worldwide leading cities:
    • Primarily economic contributions: Miami
    • Primarily non-economic contributions: Atlanta & Denver
Applying Taylor’s findings to a ranking, you end up with this:
  • 1. New York
  • 2. (tie) Los Angeles & San Francisco
  • 4. (tie) Boston & Chicago
  • 6. Washington
  • 7. (tie) Atlanta, Denver, & Miami
While Taylor’s conclusions certainly add new perspectives to the GaWC’s study, all either study is really doing is measuring the amount of large multinational companies and organizations within several large cities.

Rand McNally publishes an annual ranking of U.S. cities in its Rand McNally Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide called the “Ranally City Rankings.”
In the Ranally City Rankings system, cities are divided into categories based upon their economic functions. The system is designed to reflect an underlying hierarchy whereby consumers and businesses go to a city of a certain size for a certain function; some functions are widely available and others are only available in the largest cities.
The Ranally City Rankings “utilize a number of criteria, including population, total retail sales volume, shopping goods volume, volume of wholesaling, the number of headquarters of major corporations, banking activity and hospital facilities. Another important factor is circulation statistics for locally published daily newspapers, the extent of the area in which they circulate, and the degree to which they undergo competition locally with newspapers from other cities.”

The following is a list of all the cities ranked “1” in the Ranally City Rankings system. Cities ranked “1” are classified as “nationally important business centers.” According to Rand McNally, “each of these cities is an independent center of large-scale financial and wholesaling activity, as well as a very large retailing center. Each has a large tributary territory in which its dominant importance is overwhelming. Firms with nationwide distribution are almost certain to have important branches or outlets in every one of these cities.”
  • 1-AAAA (Unique rating): New York
  • 1-AAA (Unique rating): Los Angeles & Chicago
  • 1-AA (Major national business centers): Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington
  • 1-A (Other national business centers): Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, and Seattle
On New York’s unique 1-AAAA rating: “New York City is the only city with this ranking, in recognition of its unique business importance and nationwide economic influence”
On Los Angeles’s and Chicago’s unique 1-AAA ratings: “Los Angeles and Chicago have been recognized with this special rating, as the only cities besides New York whose economic importance and influence operate over a large part of the U.S.”

Strangely enough, MasterCard, has also attempted to rank cities in a research project it calls the “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index.” In two reports, one in 2007 and another in 2008, MasterCard used seven evaluative dimensions to identify and rank the “75 most influential cities that drive the global economy.” Like the GaWC studies and the Ranally City Rankings, the MasterCard rankings are heavily weighed toward a city’s economic importance, rather than its cultural or political importance.

Here is the ranking of U.S. cities in MasterCard’s 2008 “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index”:
  1. New York
  2. Chicago
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Boston
  6. Atlanta
  7. San Francisco
  8. Miami
  9. Houston
  10. Dallas
  11. Washington
(For whatever reason, Dallas and Philadelphia were left out of MasterCard’s 2007 index. It should also be noted that MasterCard made several adjustments to way it calculated its rankings between the 2007 and 2008 indices.)

In 2008, the bimonthly American news magazine Foreign Policy, in collaboration with A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, released their own ranking of world cities called the “Global Cities Index.”

FP’s “Global Cities Index” ranked 60 international metropolitan areas according to 24 metrics across five dimensions:
  1. “Business Activity”: the value of a city’s capital markets, the number of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered there, and the volume of goods that pass through the city
  2. “Human Capital”: the percent of residents with university degrees, the number of international schools, the size of the immigrant population
  3. “Information Exchange”: the number of international news bureaus, the amount of international news in leading local papers, and the number of broadband subscribers
  4. “Cultural Experience”: the number of performing arts venues and major sporting events, and attractions for travelers and residents
  5. “Political Engagement”: the degree to which a city influences global policymaking and dialogue, the number of embassies and consulates, major think tanks and international organizations, and political conferences.
By also including measures of cultural, social, and political importance, the “Global Cities Index”, in my view, offers a more well-rounded picture of a city’s overall importance—and not just its economic or financial importance. The published list contained only 60 cities, eight of which were American. Here are the eight U.S. cities in the order that they appeared on the list:
  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Washington
  5. San Francisco
  6. Boston
  7. Miami
  8. Atlanta
So far, the Foreign Policy “Global Cities Index” seems to be the best for comparing U.S. cities against each other. But even that list is far from perfect.

While researching this topic, I also encountered other interesting lists that ranked U.S. cities. One such list involves the degree to which U.S. cities are connected to other U.S. and international cities. This list appeared in the Brookings Institute report “U.S. Cities in the World City Network.” Like the GaWC studies, the report examines the economic connections among U.S. and international cities’ global advanced service firms.

Here are the top 25 ranked cities from ”U.S. Cities in the World City Network” (see Table 1 in the report):
  1. New York
  2. Chicago
  3. Los Angeles
  4. San Francisco
  5. Miami
  6. Atlanta
  7. Washington
  8. Boston
  9. Dallas
  10. Houston
  11. Seattle
  12. Denver
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Minneapolis
  15. St. Louis
  16. Detroit
  17. San Diego
  18. Portland
  19. Charlotte
  20. Cleveland
  21. Indianapolis
  22. Kansas City
  23. Pittsburgh
  24. Baltimore
  25. Phoenix
The report also divides cities into different tiers based on their “connectivity.” Here’s a listing of the first five tiers:
  • Strata I: New York
  • Strata II: Chicago & Los Angeles
  • Strata III: San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, & Washington
  • Strata IV: Boston, Dallas, Houston, & Seattle
  • Strata V: Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, St. Louis & Detroit
The report places New York in its own tier, and Chicago and Los Angeles are the only second tier cities. Miami’s high position is attributed to its status as “Capital of Latin America”; San Francisco’s being the nation’s “western gateway/financial center”; Atlanta’s due to it being a “media center” and also to its role as being the “unchallenged capital of the large and growing South”; and Washington’s on account of its role as the U.S. national capital. In the fourth tier, “regional capitals in New England and the Pacific Northwest (Boston and Seattle) are joined by the two Texan world cities, one as regional center (Dallas) and the other as the world’s energy capital (Houston).”

At the outset of this post, I grimly asked: “the sudden disappearance of which U.S. cities would cause the greatest impact on the rest of the U.S. and the world at large?”
Unfortunately, there actually are groups actively working toward the “sudden disappearance” of America’s cities. Which cities do these groups think are important? According to a 2007 RAND Corporation study entitled “Terrorism Risk Modeling for Intelligence Analysis and Infrastructure Protection”, “four cities—New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles—account for most of the total attack likelihood” to the United States. In other words, the cities of New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles remain the cities most attractive to prospective terrorists.
The RAND study used sophisticated modeling in order to determine the concentration of terrorism likelihood in individual U.S. cities. The report found that “cities with more locations believed to be attractive targets are, unsurprisingly, estimated to be at higher likelihood of attack, since there are many more options for terrorist attacks in these cities.” The report then divided U.S. cities into tiers based on the total likelihood of terror attacks against them:
  • Tier 1: New York & Washington
  • Tier 2: Chicago, Los Angeles, & San Francisco
  • Tier 3: Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, & Philadelphia
  • Tier 4: Cleveland, Detroit, San Diego, & Seattle
  • Tier 5: Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Orlando, San Jose, St. Louis, St. Petersburg, & Tampa
It’s no surprise that the most attractive cities to terrorists are the same cities that were so highly ranked in the studies we’ve already examined.

Every study I encountered ranked New York as the U.S.’s most important city. Which city is the nation’s second city, however, is unclear, as it seems to be a tie between Chicago and Los Angeles.
In a very crude and unscientific attempt to quantify each of the rankings above, I attached scores to each of the city rankings. In each study, the city ranked #1 was given a score of 25, the city ranked #2 was given a score of 24, the city ranked #3 was given a score of 23 and so on until the first 25 cities ranked in each survey were given scores. In the case of the Ranally and RAND rankings, I gave scores according to each city’s tier: tier 1 cities received scores of 25, tier 2 cities received 24’s, and so on. Each city’s study scores were then added together to give the city a total score. The fifteen highest scoring cities are in the chart below:

Unsurprisingly, New York received the highest score. Chicago and Los Angeles were virtually tied for second place, with a single point being the only difference between the two. (My gut, however, tells me that Los Angeles is #2, and that Chicago is #3.) San Francisco, meanwhile, was clearly in fourth place, and Washington narrowly edged out Boston and Atlanta for fifth place.

Here’s the total ranking:
  • 1. New York
  • 2. (tie) Los Angeles & Chicago
  • 4. San Francisco
  • 5. Washington
  • 6. Boston
  • 7. Atlanta
  • 8. Miami
  • 9. (tie) Dallas & Houston
  • 11. Philadelphia
  • 12. Denver
  • 13. Seattle
  • 14. Minneapolis
  • 15. Detroit
  • U.S. Most Important City: New York
  • U.S. Top 3 Cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago
  • U.S. Top 5 Cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington
  • U.S. Top 10 Cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston
  • U.S. Top 15 Cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit
The relatively high rankings of Miami and Atlanta and the relatively low rankings of Philadelphia and Seattle are what surprised me most about the studies. The other rankings seem about right.

Washington’s ranking is the only one I’m not confident about, and it is easily the most difficult American city to rank. Clearly, Washington’s importance is derived from its status as the U.S. national capital—Washington is, after all, the seat of American power. But if the city of Washington was suddenly stripped of its national capital status—and the capital moved elsewhere—it seems within the realm of possibly that Washington, much like contemporary Detroit, would slowly wither away. And yet as the capital of the most powerful country in the world, a convincing argument can also made for Washington to be ranked as the U.S.’s second, or even first, most important city. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the Soviets had had more missiles pointing at Washington than any other American city.)

Whenever I think of big cities, tall buildings are among the first things that come to mind. Curiously enough, the fifteen highest scoring cities from the studies are also the fifteen U.S. cities that have the most tall buildings within their city limits.

  • I’m seeking to determine the contemporary importance of U.S. cities—not their historical importance.
  • All of the above studies were published within the last five years.
  • The above studies ranked cities along with their metro areas. For example, nearly all of the studies included San Jose and Silicon Valley with San Francisco.
Source: 41Latitude - The Most Important Cities in the United States (http://www.41latitude.com/post/400972984/most-important-cities-united-states - broken link) by Justin O'Beirne
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:39 AM
Location: The City
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Maybe that terror/homeland security list would shed some light - not sure where that is
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:02 AM
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
31,588 posts, read 53,140,492 times
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Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Maybe that terror/homeland security list would shed some light - not sure where that is
Yeah, that's an eerie but interesting ranking.

The Insurance industry put together their own tiered ranking for the threat of terror:

Tier 1
New York
San Francisco
Washington DC

Tier 2
Los Angeles

Tier 3
All other areas

For Tier 1 cities, the guidelines recommend a premium of 3 cents per $100 of coverage. For the Tier 2 cities, the premium is 1.8 cents, and for Tier 3, representing all other areas, the premium is 0.1 cent.
To Pay or Not to Pay: Business Weighs the Cost of Terrorism Coverage - India Knowledge@Wharton
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:11 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado
109 posts, read 236,062 times
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New York
The rest would go by size
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:24 AM
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Denver has the highest number of federal agencies other than Washington DC as well as one of the homes of the US Mint. It's middles of the country location makes it safer (in military terms) to protect than coastal cities. I've heard it speculated that Denver is one of the "alternate" capitals in case of catastrophe.

My list:
San Francisco
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