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View Poll Results: Overall the city that blends the most attributes of global, international, cosmopolitan, and diversi
Atlanta 34 19.77%
Philadelphia 71 41.28%
Seattle 67 38.95%
Voters: 172. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-06-2018, 05:46 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Atlanta versus Seattle in 2018 sounds like an even-keeled match-up, at least on paper, with regards to demographics. I imagine the contest is less close with respect to things such as international profile, travel destinations, business connections, and the like.

Anyone care to redevelop a sound argument for any of the three contenders?
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:00 PM
Location: Clemson, SC by way of Tyler,TX
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Great post. Thanks for posting the stats OP
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:02 PM
Location: That star on your map in the middle of the East Coast, DMV
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Cosmopolitan - Philadelphia

International/Global- Seattle or Atlanta haven't been swayed away of either one yet

Diverse- Atlanta
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:31 AM
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Old 09-08-2018, 04:08 AM
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Thanks for the stats, FactsKillRhetoric.

I usually cast votes before plowing through threads, but I see I should have done the opposite here, because I was torn between voting for Philadelphia and voting for Seattle - I'd say the two are awfully close on all four metrics. Had I read your initial post first, I probably would have voted for Seattle instead of Philadelphia.

I'm not at all surprised to see the numbers concerning South Asian origin. The Indian-American presence is notable here and scattered throughout the region - I've eaten at an Indian restaurant in Lindenwold and shopped at an Indian supermarket in Bensalem. Or the West African figure, though they're noticeable as a presence only in a portion of West Philadelphia.

I wouldn't have considered Philadelphia "cosmopolitan" - I get that vibe more in Seattle. After reading your definition, however, I think I need to revise my assessment, for it seems to hinge less on insularity than on receptiveness to outsiders. Philadelphia's neighborhoods are quite parochial (though a growing number are less so than they used to be) and many of its professional circles have an everyone-knows-everyone-else quality to them, but those professional circles are quite welcoming to new arrivals from elsewhere, whether domestic or foreign. (I became acquainted with the Indian-American head of government relations for the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors when I struck up a conversation with him as we were transferring from the bus to the subway one day; he lived in a 95% African-American neighborhood further out on one of the bus lines I ride to get to the subway.)

It seems to me that some of those differences in population for peoples of certain origin reflect either geographic location or that plus connections. Seattle is far closer to both Australia and Oceania and therefore more likely to be the first place someone from Fiji or Sydney would land upon arrival in this country. Atlanta is closer to the Caribbean than Philadelphia is, but getting to the Caribbean from Philly is just about as easy as getting to it from Atlanta. I have a good number of Caribbean-Americans in my social circles, including a whip-smart second-generation Haitian-American colleague at work. (I'm just going to inject here that it seems to me that one of the tragedies of Haiti is that its best and brightest seem compelled to leave the country.)

Anyway, interesting topic, and thanks for starting it.
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:44 AM
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by SDPMiami View Post

Philadelphia is dead last in all categories, it's just too much in the shadow of NYC to make relevant global connections or to attract immigrants.
I can definitely tell you that this is not the case.

The city's dining scene. which has risen a great deal in national prominence over the last decade, relies to a large extent on the immigrants from the southern Mexican state of Puebla who staff the city's restaurant kitchens. Mexican immigrants also now run a sizable fraction of the stores and eateries in the storied Italian Market in South Philly - I joke that it's a fortunate coincidence that the national flags of Italy and Mexico use the same three colors because it means the city doesn't have to repaint the awnings.

Our international airport gets nowhere near the number of international passengers New York's two do - even Newark Liberty way outdistances PHL. But 3.6 million international passengers ain't beanbag - it's enough to land it in the top 20 - right behind Sea-Tac.

(Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson ranks right behind Newark Liberty; both get some 11 million international passengers annually.)

The Nationalities Service Center here, in existence since the early 1900s, has never lacked for clients to serve.

I will grant that our biggest Fortune 500 companies are not what I'd call "global" in terms of their business lines. But in terms of the talent they attract, especially in the pharma and biomedical fields, they're more international than you might suspect. This region is a hotbed of biomedical research, and that attracts some highly intelligent people from abroad.

Something else you may have missed: Like their native-born counterparts have been doing for about two decades now, immigrants from abroad who settle in New York are now migrating to Philadelphia because the cost of housing here is significantly lower. Even The New York Times has taken notice of this:

Leaving New York to Find The American Dream in Philadelphia | The New York Times
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:50 AM
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by Ant131531 View Post
For such a big metro such as Philly, it's shocking that it only has 5 foreign consulates. By comparison Seattle has 8 and Atlanta has 26.

Source: List of diplomatic missions in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atlanta is the only one to make top 10 out of the three. So how about the Globalness and international clout? But but but, Austin having a higher foreign born population clearly means it's more international than Atlanta though.

And for people who say foreign consulates don't mean much, just look at the top 10...I'd fully believe these are the top 10 most international cities in this county.

Top 10: NYC, DC, LA, Chicago, SF, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, then Seattle/NOLA(tied).
I think one reason Atlanta has so many consulates is, as has been noted about the city elsewhere in this discussion, it's pretty much all the marbles in its region (the Deep South in particular and the Southeast in general). The cities that are close to it aren't in its league (Charlotte, Birmingham), and the cities that are in its league aren't close to it. And there's that airport. It's the logical place to put a foreign consulate in the Southeast, no two ways about it.

By contrast, New York is just 90 miles up the road from Philadelphia. If you can only put one consulate in to serve both regions, it goes in New York for reasons that I shouldn't have to spell out.

And yet there had been an Italian consulate in Philadelphia until about a year ago.

I can tell you, by the way, that one of those six consulates in Philadelphia is that of the West African nation of Sierra Leone. It's located in the next block west of mine.

Which leads me to another observation: Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that one of the things that may determine whether a country sets up a consulate in a city is whether there is someone in that city willing to serve as a consul. It seems to me, based on someone I know who holds that title (ISTR), that these positions aren't regular posts in the country's foreign service but rather positions that go to nationals of the country already resident in the other country. (That would be my guess why the Sierra Leone consulate is a large twin house in a lower-income section of Germantown, an outlying neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia.)

Originally Posted by Facts Kill Rhetoric View Post

Honestly, whether it is total foreign born, or O&D, or huge multinational corporations, or whatever else, I think reasonably most would see the three as pretty much the same tier. Now the question is which one of the three pulls ahead of the other two, that is interesting because so many avenues and boulevards a person can take to make their claim, all of it is legit (so long as the reasoning is rational). I think it is an interesting discussion in the making, honestly. I'm also curious to see what is that one thing or few things that pulls the favors for one over the other two, anyone have any ideas?
Based on several of the stats (in particular, international passenger traffic through its airport, a stat where Atlanta blows the other two away; its total is nearly twice that of PHL and Sea-Tac combined - and, as I noted in one of my other responses above, about on par with Newark Liberty, one of New York's two international airports), if any one of these three cities "pulls away" from the others, it will be Atlanta. The two best-known companies headquartered there are both "global" brands too (well, CNN is based there, but its corporate parent is headquartered in New York).

I think that the poster who said that Atlanta's location in the Deep South and its lower percentage of walkable urban communities conspire to work against it with this crowd is right. The former, IMO, more than the latter: the Deep South as a region is seen by many as still resistant to any sort of cosmopolitan influences, those Indians operating hotels on the Mississippi Gulf Coast notwithstanding; it's still "backward and prejudiced" in the eyes of many. Atlanta is what it is today because it set itself in contrast to that backwardness and prejudice, but the transformation from Just Another Southern City to a global hub is still of relatively recent occurrence, and as I'm sure you all know, perceptions sometimes take a while to catch up to reality.

Originally Posted by waronxmas View Post
I wonder how many of those folks are people who first moved to NYC, then moved to Philly for the cheaper COL, but still commute to NYC for work?
If that New York Times article is any guide, the immigrants who move here from New York find work (or set up shop) here too. The two cities are close enough to each other to influence locational decisions but not close enough to become one commutershed; unless one lives in the area where those commutersheds overlap - a territory that includes Bucks County, PA, and Burlington Couty, NJ, in the Philadelphia CSA and MSA, Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, NJ, in the New York CSA, and most emphatically Mercer County, NJ, which is in the Philadelphia media market but the New York CSA, the Federal government having moved it out of the Philadelphia CSA in the mid-1990s - commuting from one metro to the other takes just a little too long (though the actual commuting time will vary depending on location of residence and employment; someone living in Yardley, for instance, might be able to take a job at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick). But city center-to-city center commuting is out of the question unless one is either willing to give up one's personal life or has enough money to afford an Acela commuter pass (or an Amtrak Northeast Regional one). Most of the immigrants fall into neither of these categories.

Originally Posted by Facts Kill Rhetoric View Post
It is interesting, my personal thought was that if any of the three has the slight edge currently it would be Atlanta but these City-Data polls are always interesting like that as it trails the other two by a bit.

I could definitely see the argument for any of the three though and I am not suggesting anything otherwise or to the contrary. Just that I personally thought on paper Atlanta looked the best rounded of the three, and it is further behind in the polls so something hasn't registered yet.

In the future, I think Seattle. Seattle just has to grow more of a business cachet overseas than it already has and I think it'll be good. It has the demographics and the seaport already but I think Atlanta's been a better draw for global multinational corporations to this point.
Someone else here commented on the low number of foreign-born residents in Philadelphia relative to its size. This fits in with a longstanding pattern here of civic and other institutions punching below their weight for a number of reasons. I tell people all the time that the Philadelphia I live in now is a vastly different city from the one I lived in 20 or even 10 years ago. If Atlanta is late to the global-city game, then Philadelphia is late to the urban-revival game, and it still shows. (One stat the head of the special services district focused on the city core trots out often in presentations is this: All of the rest of the nation's 10 largest cities that had lost jobs since 1970 had recovered them all by 2010, and several had surpassed their 1970 levels. Philadelphia remained 25 percent below its 1970 employment level in 2010.) We will probably be a laggard on globalization too, but - as with employment - at least we're back in the game now (on globalization, finally in the game), and that makes a big difference.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:54 AM
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:42 AM
Location: Houston, TX
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I think it depends on the category.

Atlanta is the most global and diverse, but I feel Philly is the most cosmopolitan due to its fine arts, urbanity, history, and culinary scene.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:58 AM
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Originally Posted by As Above So Below... View Post
I think it depends on the category.

Atlanta is the most global and diverse, but I feel Philly is the most cosmopolitan due to its fine arts, urbanity, history, and culinary scene.
I think that's a very balanced and objective take on this comparison, and I think most would be inclined to agree. Philly has long been a time-honored and sophisticated cultural hub, but it's now rebuilding its global profile after decades of falling behind. Conversely, Atlanta has had a meteoric rise in the global sphere over the past half-century, although it's kind of leveled off at this point, at least in relative terms of other cities' rise.

I think where Seattle wins in this comparison is the current trajectory/momentum. It's had and continues to have an impressive rise by continuing to raise is global profile and matures as a bona fide major urban city.

That being said, all three are good bets in the future in terms of a "global cities" outlook: https://www.atkearney.com/documents/...2-408285d4bb7c

Last edited by Duderino; 09-11-2018 at 11:06 AM..
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