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Old 03-18-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,883 posts, read 19,800,859 times
Reputation: 5781

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Ranking of cities by actual "livability" (not skylines or other nonsense). What would your list look like?

Ranking of cities by actual livability (affordable, convenience, family friendly yet thriving urban scene, sports, attractions, arts, cost of living, traffic, recreation etc).

I'm going to try to rank all the major cities I have been to (been to all of them actually) and list a very short reason I like the the city and dislike it. I'm also going to rank them in the order in which I would probably choose to live in the city (or metro), but I honestly like all cities and could probably live in any metro. But I have favorites and will try to rank them as best as I can.

Keep in mind, I like "livable" cities, not just cities that offer everything or have the best downtowns or attractions but then are too crowded and too expensive to actually take advantage of what they offer or you make 120k and live in a shack.

I want a city with a good cross section of urban neighborhoods and central city supporting suburbs all with plenty to do in and around the city. I want those things to actually be accessible and affordable. I want an active and diverse population with urban bike trails and a city that is near other other vibrant cities or destination recreational areas.

I want usable regionwide transit and affordable air access with nonstops to everywhere.

I also want good pro sports facilities, museums, arts, amusement parks etc, which I will factor into my ranking, but probably won't go into detail about.

I know, I ask for a lot.

Please respond if you have been to many metros and can honestly compare them!

1. Denver, CO
pro: Vibrant city next to the mountains, solid and expanding transit, awesome regional cooperation, nice suburbs with and active population and just the right size to enjoy it (2.5 - 3 million). First class urban sports venues in all leagues, skiing in winter, mountain biking in summer, and Colorado is a recreational heaven.
con: Isolated, not a lot of authentic urban charm and low pay for cost of living, but easily overcome by positives.

2. Seattle, WA
pro: Very liberal, progressive city, beautiful scenery, plethora of recreational options, developing transit, water, and right between two other metros I really like (Vancouver and Portland).
con: expensive, very far from rest of country, lack of sunshine compared to Denver.

3. Minneapolis, MN
pro: Much like Denver, only colder in winter, but very active population even in winter. Good COL for what is offered and nice size of metro so everything is easy to take advantage of and affordable. Two interesting vibrant urban cores and regional community spirit.
con: somewhat isolated and a bit cold in winter, airport expensive to fly in and out of.

4. Washington, DC (including Balt area)
pro: Location, Location, Location. The entire urban NE is right there, the mountains are low profile, but still a few hours away, Ocean City is nearby and Washington DC itself has so much to do and see, also a stable economy.
con: Extreme COL, transient population, traffic. Paying 600k for a 1970's split level is just dumb. Can be very time consuming and costly to take advantage of what area offers do to congestion and little income left after paying bills.

5. Chicago, IL
pro:, Huge metro area so offers everything one could imagine, active and lots to do with an amazing central city all with a midwestern feel and the lake is almost like an ocean in the summer!
con: Winters just suck in Chicago and once away from city, the metro sprawls way too far into generic midwestern suburbia and commutes and traffic are just terrible as the entire city is west due to the lake (making traffic worse) and you pretty much have to live way out there if unless you are rich or don't have kids.

6. Boston, MA
pro:The city is amazing. It screams vibrancy, charm, urban etc. It's active and part of the NE urban corridor.
con:Expensive and not the best place if you want nice suburbs AND a nice city. Great for the younger crowd, but not the best for a family. (this is why Denver just can't be topped IMO).

7. San Diego, CA
pro: weather, weather, weather. I'm sure I would miss the seasons though. Beaches and mountains nearby, Good sized city, but not too big, close to LA and lots to see and do.
con: very expensive, lack of contrasting seasons.

8. St Louis, MO
pro: despite it's very undeserved image, StL has to be one of the most livable cities in the country. The metro has a ton to do and see yet is very affordable and very central to much of the rest of the country so you can live there and easily travel. Nice suburbs set in interesting topography and some really nice urban neighborhoods and inner suburbs.
con: midwestern weather extremes, very racially segregated, a downtown that has more potential than vibrancy.

9. Portland, OR
pro: a very urban and transit oriented city and metro with a lively downtown and awesome topography in the beautiful pacific northwest and close to Seattle.
con: no MLB, espensive for income and remote from rest of country.

10. Pittsburgh, PA
pro: Amazing topography, vibrant urban neighborhoods and eye popping downtown skyline all with so much community pride. Love the pro sports venues and location between the east coast and Midwest is a plus for access to those areas without dealing with living in them.
con: stagnant growth, suburbs are not near as nice as many cities, aging infrastructure, poor transit.

OK, I'm wore out from this. I will just list the rest, maybe I will list my reasons in a future post if there is interest.

11. San Francisco, CA
12. Kansas City, MO
13. Cincinnati, OH
14. Milwaukee, WI
15. Atlanta, GA
16. Tampa, FL
17. Los Angeles, CA
18. Miami, FL
19. Dallas, TX
20. Cleveland, OH

All the rest fall someplace below these

Last edited by kcmo; 03-18-2011 at 01:35 PM..

 
Old 03-18-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Weymouth, The South
786 posts, read 1,624,352 times
Reputation: 465
That's really good, and I'd go with most of that, but there are tonnes of listings calculated by official bodies which use quite similar criteria. None of them put Denver on top though, but that'd because this list is obviously based upon your opinions.
 
Old 03-18-2011, 06:48 PM
 
Location: New York
610 posts, read 969,652 times
Reputation: 297
Pittsburgh because it was actually voted as the Most Livable city in the U.S.
Move over, Honolulu; Pittsburgh's No. 1 in U.S.
It's official: Pittsburgh is the most liveable city in the U.S. | News In Brief | Marketplace from American Public Media (http://www.publicradio.org/columns/marketplace/business-news-briefs/2011/02/its_official_pittsburg_is_1_in.html - broken link)
It's really cheap to live in Pittsburgh.
 
Old 03-18-2011, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia,New Jersey, NYC!
6,967 posts, read 18,394,061 times
Reputation: 2657
a livable city? isn't that a suburb?
 
Old 03-19-2011, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Chicago (from pittsburgh)
3,720 posts, read 4,608,302 times
Reputation: 2927
I'm not a fan of the word 'livable'.... livable means different to me than it does a 70 year old or a 45 year old CEO.
 
Old 03-20-2011, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,883 posts, read 19,800,859 times
Reputation: 5781
Well, I guess this thread was a dud, glad I didnt' type any more!
 
Old 03-20-2011, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Miami
205 posts, read 239,712 times
Reputation: 106
Livable is such a stupid word.

I guess people not residing in any of these cities are not living. What are they, dead? LOL.

Since "livable" (by your definition) is so subjective, the only way to quantify it is by looking at which cities have the highest populations. The most livable cities are NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and so on..

Last edited by sputnikkk; 03-20-2011 at 12:44 PM..
 
Old 03-20-2011, 12:57 PM
 
14,130 posts, read 23,077,765 times
Reputation: 4271
Quote:
Originally Posted by sputnikkk View Post
Livable is such a stupid word.

I guess people not residing in any of these cities are not living. What are they, dead? LOL.

Since "livable" (by your definition) is so subjective, the only way to quantify it is by looking at which cities have the highest populations. The most livable cities are NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and so on..
Game, Set, Match!!
 
Old 03-20-2011, 01:26 PM
 
Location: So California
8,604 posts, read 9,056,287 times
Reputation: 4702
Dont forget San Jose.....
 
Old 03-20-2011, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,509 posts, read 28,564,045 times
Reputation: 7623
Quote:
Originally Posted by sputnikkk View Post
Livable is such a stupid word.

I guess people not residing in any of these cities are not living. What are they, dead? LOL.

Since "livable" (by your definition) is so subjective, the only way to quantify it is by looking at which cities have the highest populations. The most livable cities are NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and so on..
plus 1
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