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Old 05-13-2007, 09:47 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
1,287 posts, read 4,652,956 times
Reputation: 662

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
Well, by the criteria you list, as vague as they are, it would nevertheless be impossible to include Boise, ID, as one of the top ten.
I agree that Boise doesn't belong in the list. I did list major criteria or categories of criteria for determining the top 10, but did not elaborate on what each meant or how each is measured. So from my standpoint, here are the primary measures. For most of these measures official rankings or evidence of some sort can be found.

Original Question
What are the top 10 U.S. cities (including metro area) in terms of political power, economic strength, cultural resources and influence, academic institutions, and overall global impact?

political power
1. is an incubator of statewide (e.g. governor, attorney general, etc.) and national political officeholders (e.g. president, cabinet secretary, House Speaker, Senate Majority leader, etc.)
2. is major source of financial contributions to political campaigns
3. has a significant delegation of representatives in the state legislature and in Congress
4. has a high profile mayor

economic strength
1. GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product)
2. diversity of local economy or industry

cultural resources
1. art institutions (e.g. museums) with significant assets both in terms of financial assets and volume of collections
2. size and volume of holdings of public library system
3. top performing arts organizations by size of operating budget (i.e. symphony, opera, etc.)
4. number of professional sports teams (seems vain but all major cities have them in the U.S. and abroad)

academic institutions
1 highly ranked (top 25) colleges, law schools, business schools, medical schools, etc.
2 other major scientific and medical research institutions

overall global impact
1. contributions to world culture and standards (fashion, art, film/television, architecture, music, cuisine, hotels, etc.)
2. contributions to world economy (financial markets, trade, transportation, etc.)
3. major destination for international/foreign tourists
4. major destination for foreign immigrants

There could be other measures, but I think these are essential to any world class, global powerhouse city.
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,447,412 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealAngelion View Post
cultural resources
1. art institutions (e.g. museums) with significant assets both in terms of financial assets and volume of collections
2. size and volume of holdings of public library system
3. top performing arts organizations by size of operating budget (i.e. symphony, opera, etc.)
4. number of professional sports teams (seems vain but all major cities have them in the U.S. and abroad)
I understand that this is typical of most "objective" measures of "culture" but it is ridiculous to reduce culture to arbitrary categories that are tied closely to old wealth and institutions. Dallas, for example, has far better museums, professional sports franchises, larger libraries and everything else that comes with being a big city with big financial contributors.

But you can't buy culture. Nobody can tell me that Dallas is more culturally interesting than New Orleans, Austin, Portland (OR), or even (holding my nose) Nashville. Dallas has culture that is purchased and generic, yet by those "objective" criteria you list it would be ranked above all the other cities that I personally regard as being VASTLY more culturally enlightened and interesting. I'd even put Memphis and Kansas City above Dallas on a culture scale, but I'm assigning more value to home-grown culture, not the so-called culture that people purchase with oil money for purposes of displaying their nouveaux-riche status.
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:01 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
1,287 posts, read 4,652,956 times
Reputation: 662
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
I understand that this is typical of most "objective" measures of "culture" but it is ridiculous to reduce culture to arbitrary categories that are tied closely to old wealth and institutions. Dallas, for example, has far better museums, professional sports franchises, larger libraries and everything else that comes with being a big city with big financial contributors.

But you can't buy culture. Nobody can tell me that Dallas is more culturally interesting than New Orleans, Austin, Portland (OR), or even (holding my nose) Nashville. Dallas has culture that is purchased and generic, yet by those "objective" criteria you list it would be ranked above all the other cities that I personally regard as being VASTLY more culturally enlightened and interesting. I'd even put Memphis and Kansas City above Dallas on a culture scale, but I'm assigning more value to home-grown culture, not the so-called culture that people purchase with oil money for purposes of displaying their nouveaux-riche status.
I agree that smaller cities like New Orleans, Austin and Santa Fe might have more dynamic and interesting homegrown cultural scenes than some larger cities do like Dallas. But how do you objectively measure which cultural scene is better than another. That’s all a matter of personal opinion.

When determining which U.S. cities are on par or near the same level as other top cities like Paris, London, Madrid, Tokyo, Toronto etc. you have to stick with comparing apples to apples and look at what these cities have in common. From a cultural standpoint all these cities have great museums, libraries, performing art centers and major sports franchises. Having the sophistication and wherewithal to build and sustain all of that is an indicator of an important and resourceful city IMO.
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:06 AM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker to new jerseyite ;)
4,085 posts, read 11,456,702 times
Reputation: 1942
Culture is subjective. Depends on where you're standing. I don't see what's so interesting about Austin and Portland. I just see small cities with good marketing campaigns.

Most people I've met visiting Texas from other countries think Dallas before any other city in Texas, thanks to that TV show in the 1980s. They have an image of cowboy boots, ten-gallon hats, everything larger than life. That's the image of Texas in the popular imagination. Texas has (arguably had, with all the transplants now) a unique character and homegrown culture. Many parts of it still do, just not so much in the cities anymore.

Dallas is no more guilty of purchasing culture than any major American city. Much of what we think of as high art and culture is European in origin. In Houston at least, most working artists I know benefit greatly from rich benefactors and philanthropists. The money to support the arts has to come from somewhere. I've read that Houston has the largest concentration of working artists in Texas and third largest in the U.S. I don't know how that could've happened without old, and new, money to support the arts. Plus which, both Houston and Dallas have pretty sizeable underground arts and music scenes.

Last edited by houstoner; 05-15-2007 at 07:25 AM..
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,447,412 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealAngelion View Post
I agree that smaller cities like New Orleans, Austin and Santa Fe might have more dynamic and interesting homegrown cultural scenes than some larger cities do like Dallas. But how do you objectively measure which cultural scene is better than another. That’s all a matter of personal opinion.
Yes, it's opinion. That's why I find it slightly annoying when someone refers to "official lists." You can get "official rankings" of objective measures but when they are reported they should be reported honestly, not referred to as measures of culture. You can't measure life or social dynamics any more than you can measure how pleasant the weather is.

Places Rated Almanac attempts to reduce countless subjective criteria to objective measures without even providing a basis for selecting their criteria. I love their books, don't get me wrong, but I have serious problems with their methodology, assumptions and the laziness with which they arbitrarily choose easily-measured criteria and then assign their own arbitrary subjective values and weights to those measurements in order to come up with supposedly-objective lists. They're not objective, nor is the "official" ranking that has been posted several times in this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealAngelion View Post
When determining which U.S. cities are on par or near the same level as other top cities like Paris, London, Madrid, Tokyo, Toronto etc. you have to stick with comparing apples to apples and look at what these cities have in common.
I think houstoner nailed it with this comment: "Dallas is no more guilty of purchasing culture than any major American city. Much of what we think of as high art and culture is European in origin."

Comparing old grand European cities to American cities is impossible. They're apples and bicycles, not even apples and oranges! Sure, you can measure the number and size of museums, or the number of books checked out of libraries per capita, or the number of coffeehouses per capita, but what does any of that mean when considering the fact that a European art museum generally doesn't resemble an American museum, and their restaurants have a completely different dynamic, and their architecture is rooted in the context of an era when craftsmanship was more important than economy --- there are so many incomparable aspects to each side of the Atlantic that it's virtually impossible to compare on an objective level, but it's still FUN so I'm not disparaging attempts to make comparisons and rankings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by houstoner View Post
Culture is subjective. Depends on where you're standing. I don't see what's so interesting about Austin and Portland. I just see small cities with good marketing campaigns.
LOL, you cynic!

One has to delve deep into the heart of any city to experience its culture and it's very difficult to do that in either Portland or Austin without having a good tour guide and a lot of time to spend here. And even then, it's completely subjective as you said. I moved here from California with a girlfriend who left after 2 years because she got sick of Austin, she's just not into the vibe here. Other people fall in love with it, I'm one of those nutters who is crazy about this city and yet I can easily see why someone would hate it.
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:16 AM
 
Location: Henderson NV
1,134 posts, read 914,825 times
Reputation: 82
O.K. Here we go. I'm new, with some new numbers-actually these numbers are about 8 years old. Strategic Productions and Woods and Poole Economics, Inc., has Los Angeles at the top of the list of metropolitan areas in terms of population at 9.2 mil. New York second with 8.6. Bloomberg wouldn't tell you about this,..I just did! Newark is it's own metropolitan area, just as Stamford/Norwalk is, just as, you get the idea. These numbers for Los Angeles don't take into account the omission of the other counties that join together to form the Greater L.A. Area. 15,984,941, according to the millennium edition of Places Rated Almanac. Each state should have it's own metropolitan areas, otherwise you're counting heads twice..or counting heads from other states the way New York has to in order to remain "on top!" Fact of the matter is, New York City can't have 16 million people in it's metro area because the entire state only has 19 million! Some estimates have the city at 22 million! Great as it is, with all the buildings, it still doesn't have the international visibility of Hollywood and it will have to settle for second in metro population.
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Old 05-16-2007, 07:30 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,284 posts, read 31,780,394 times
Reputation: 5220
Quote:
Originally Posted by milquetoast View Post
Fact of the matter is, New York City can't have 16 million people in it's metro area because the entire state only has 19 million! Some estimates have the city at 22 million!
Hello??????? You do realize that the NYC "metro" area consists of Northeastern/Central NJ and Southern CT, right? They don't call it the "tri-state" area for nothing. Of course the area has about 22 million people - I wouldn't be surprised if it's more. Newark and Stamford have always been considered part of the NYC metro area. Newark is about 7 miles from NYC as the crow flies, how can it not be?
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Old 05-16-2007, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,489 posts, read 16,166,684 times
Reputation: 5637
Counting heads twice? That doesn't even make sense. Metropolitan areas extend beyond state boundaries because the influence of many large cities does. New York City is located on a tiny sliver of New York State that follows the Hudson downstate. Just across the river from Manhattan is New Jersey (a different state, but with a very strong metropolitan bond with NYC). A few miles on the other side, Connecticut. Same story. New York City's influence extends into part of Pennsylvania as well. The NYC Metro Region is huge in population and geography. Areas such as Newark, Edison, and Stamford-Norwalk are PMSAs (smaller parts of the greater metro region that are used for more local analysis within the region).

Saying that parts of NJ and CT aren't part of the NYC region is like saying cities such as Long Beach and Santa Monica or counties such as Ventura and Orange aren't part of the LA region. It doesn't fly. States over here on the east coast are small geographically. Often the metropolitan pull of a city extends far beyond the state bounds.

Edit: The population numbers you posted have nothing to do with metropolitan regions. They roughly correspond to the populations of LA County and New York City themselves.

Last edited by lammius; 05-16-2007 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:05 AM
 
Location: Henderson NV
1,134 posts, read 914,825 times
Reputation: 82
That's right, Lammius! It doesn't make any sense, but that's what you have to do..when you cook the books. Jersey! Where's your MSA's? What do you mean, you don't have any! You should have at least three..what do you mean, they belong to someone else now? Trenton, Jersey City, Newark-that's 3 million right there! So..for reasons of politics, money, that sort of thing..when we ask for your state's total population we'll just subtract 3 million unlessss... we can always count those heads..TWICE! See how that works? With 354 metro areas in the country and with all that head counting there could be 800 million people in America and that's not right! Stamford? Bridgeport? Well..maybe not Bridgeport, but why not? Where does it end, and who decides ..and for what reasons? Doesn't make sense to me because I deal with the real world and not the theoretical fantasies of any given city's influence over another. Though New Jersey gave in long ago, I'm sure the eastern suburbs of Philly don't appreciate being told by ANYONE that they're more impressed by a rather distant New York than their own core of origin. Philadelphia hates New York, HATES it! The same way Oakland hates San Francisco and nearly everyone hates L.A. This isn't acceptable impression, it's repulsion! Rejection! More so than any other country, the United States is a diverse land of a great many cities. So many of them, each with their own distinctive personalities. This fact sets us apart from the rest. As for Tahiti, the Tri-State Area is a provincial moniker-you may be confusing 'market' with 'metro'. Kind of like referring to L.A. as the Southland or to Massachusetts as the Baystate. See, all have their own personal identity! In the real world, these are the reasons statistical areas should remain within the boundaries of their respective states, so all can be accounted for. Accurately. Ethnic, Economical and Cultural diversity is another matter up for interpretation of any kind. So are quality of life issues, but real numbers in the real world don't lie. The numbers stated earlier have everything to do with true metro criteria. Numbers accurately state the amounts for Los Angeles County and, for New York, the component counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester. O M G! I forgot about Bergen/Passaic. That's another 1,350,000 heads that will ROLL!!

Last edited by milquetoast; 05-17-2007 at 04:29 AM..
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:12 AM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker to new jerseyite ;)
4,085 posts, read 11,456,702 times
Reputation: 1942
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
LOL, you cynic!

One has to delve deep into the heart of any city to experience its culture and it's very difficult to do that in either Portland or Austin without having a good tour guide and a lot of time to spend here. And even then, it's completely subjective as you said. I moved here from California with a girlfriend who left after 2 years because she got sick of Austin, she's just not into the vibe here. Other people fall in love with it, I'm one of those nutters who is crazy about this city and yet I can easily see why someone would hate it.
I'm pretty familiar with Austin. Austin was great 10-15 years ago when it still just a sleepy college town and freaky Texan kid mecca, but with the influx of Californians and other transplants, and everything that came with that, much of what made it great has been lost. With the exception of the live music scene, the other stuff you can find elsewhere in Texas.
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