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View Poll Results: ?
Barcelona 36 78.26%
Philly 10 21.74%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,497 posts, read 7,781,934 times
Reputation: 7321

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Anyway, I never gave my opinion about this comparison.

I've never been to Barcelona and I'm pretty honest about what I think of places in general. Barcelona looks like a terrific city, to take it a step further-- it's the only place in the world that I've heard absolutely nothing but incredible things. Every person I've ever known or overheard talking about it has had nothing but exceptional things to say about the place. Given that, it's high on my bucket list-- very high.

In general, I quite love Spain, for such a small country it has some stellar cities. I'm personally quite fond of Valencia-- probably my favorite medium sized city in the world but I've never been. Only looked into it. I also think Madrid is an incredible place, again never been.

I've looked at the climate, the physical setting, infrastructure, culture, architecture, cosmopolitanism, the arts, cultural institutions, crime rates and I've been left completely blown away with how productive Spain has been in modernizing and also preserving it's culture and history.

I'm not all that into Philadelphia to be honest and I'll leave it at that. It's a city on this forum that you can rarely express less than flattering opinions of (even if it's non-bashing and somewhat reasonable) without striking nerves and I don't want to go there with that.

I'm gong with Barcelona, if you cant tell already.

If we're going to compare Philadelphia CSA to the Barcelona LUZ, at least make it a fair comparison between our CSA to their "metropolitan area": (Note to mods, the picture is my own screenshot)

http://www.city-data.com/forum/membe...p-image-72.bmp

Last edited by Facts Kill Rhetoric; 01-26-2013 at 06:31 AM..

 
Old 01-26-2013, 12:59 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,420 posts, read 21,953,301 times
Reputation: 10404
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrantiX View Post
But Fitzrovian, I thought Philly was the greatest city in the world
I don't understand what the gloating is. Pretty much all US cities can't compare to Barcelona in almost any of the aspects listed save for NYC. Both SF and Philly are cowtowns in comparison which isn't surprising since those two are pretty much in the same tier. If anything, there should be some kind of disappointment that US cities are so blegh.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 01-26-2013 at 01:20 PM..
 
Old 01-26-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,253 posts, read 2,465,370 times
Reputation: 1556
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I don't understand what the gloating is. Pretty much all US cities can't compare to Barcelona in almost any of the aspects listed save for NYC. Both SF and Philly are cowtowns in comparison which isn't surprising since those two are pretty much in the same tier. If anything, there should be some kind of disappointment that US cities are so blegh.
The US has plenty of fine cities -- arguably more than any other country -- though one can legitimately argue that, given the size of our country, we should have more or that even our best cities leave much to be desired. The bigger problem, as I see it, is that once you go beyond our top 10-12 cities, most of our urban areas are not just underwhelming but totally dysfunctional. The Houstons, Clevelands, Baltimores and Detroits of this country punch way below their weight by international urban standards. And once you go below 1m -- think Toledo or Youngstown or Hartford -- it's an absolute horror show. Tremendous amount of urban blight, poor or nonexistent public transportation, crime, and almost a total lack of functional urban life, with most of the money concentrated in bland suburbs. When you compare them to similar size cities in Europe - Antwerp, Bilbao, the Hague, etc. -- you realize the abyss that separates our cities.

Last edited by Fitzrovian; 01-26-2013 at 03:38 PM..
 
Old 01-26-2013, 04:14 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,420 posts, read 21,953,301 times
Reputation: 10404
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzrovian View Post
The US has plenty of fine cities -- arguably more than any other country -- though one can legitimately argue that, given the size of our country, we should have more or that even our best cities leave much to be desired. The bigger problem, as I see it, is that once you go beyond our top 10-12 cities, most of our urban areas are not just underwhelming but totally dysfunctional. The Houstons, Clevelands, Baltimores and Detroits of this country punch way below their weight by international urban standards. And once you go below 1m -- think Toledo or Youngstown or Hartford -- it's an absolute horror show. Tremendous amount of urban blight, poor or nonexistent public transportation, crime, and almost a total lack of functional urban life, with most of the money concentrated in bland suburbs. When you compare them to similar size cities in Europe - Antwerp, Bilbao, the Hague, etc. -- you realize the abyss that separates our cities.
Even our good/best cities have a tremendous amount of blight, poverty, crime and disinvestment compared to those in other developed countries. A good deal of the criteria save for weather (depends on the cities and preferences), affordability and multiculturalism and the like (which does not mean everyone gets along or that things are equitable) listed in the original post swing towards the cities of the developed country and often heavily. The big thing US cities/metros have is economic clout which is really great for those high enough up the food chain. Now aside from the economic factor (which is a very big one) which cities/metros in the US would you say does a good job against Barcelona overall with all the criteria originally listed? NYC and a few others are arguable if we strip out some chunks of the metro and city. Or maybe take some smaller cities who have their **** together and we adjust for size--maybe.

And yea, there are exceptions in the US of different sizes and configurations.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 01-26-2013 at 04:30 PM..
 
Old 01-26-2013, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,497 posts, read 7,781,934 times
Reputation: 7321
Yeahhh I usually take important cities and ones with a quality urban environment in two separate categories. They're not synonymous. Fitzrovian pointed that out indirectly, there are several very important American cities that in terms of importance would stack up greatly within the top 50 of the world and many of them being the same top 12 largest he referenced. However they would not stack up in that same barometer (top 50 in the world) in terms of urbanity, except for a FAR and few select ones.

What I disagree with him on is that I feel the US only has a handful (plus one or two more indefinitely) of competitive cities on an international urban scale. To me the clear cut cities of the United States are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, or Miami (not for quality of urban environment though). Beyond that it sort of turns average where "good for the United States but lacking to global standards apply" class.

Even in our top cities (those seven referenced) only one of them has a world class transit network-- New York. We have two others in the world's top 50 and I'll give a special nod to Boston as well on that but they're only great by American standards, they are either adequate or inadequate by global standards in which case several cities in the first world and many in the second have caught up or surpassed them on both quality of transit, usage, or extensiveness.

In the top cities, New York has an acceptable crime rate, it's a very cosmopolitan city, it's a powerful business & economic center, it's one of the most renown destination cities in the world, and it has things in place albeit it too could use some improvements too.

Chicago has a lot of world class level things, it has museums and cultural institutions that rank favorably among those of the world, the architecture, cosmopolitanism, urban environment, globally competitive economic engine, and so on. What it lacks is more safety and less blight (in west & south sides) and that's something it could use improvement on.

Los Angeles has the world class museums and cultural institutions, the interesting sites to see, cosmopolitanism, the climate, and is a prominent business center as well. It needs more help with infrastructure though and more catching up to do on the urban environment, it's dense (by US standards) but it needs to create more high density quality urban environments and get it's transit network on par with the rest of the US, and aim to be up there with the world.

Washington DC has the cultural institutions, the famed government destinations, cosmopolitanism, affluence, is a prominent city amongst the world, so on. It can use less crime (which is aggressively been addressed) and it could use more urbanity-- on a larger scale.

Boston & San Francisco for their sizes have a well rounded package, not much left to not like about them as they're downward trending crime cities and have the economic clout and cosmopolitanism with some of the world's most renown technology, innovation, medical research, and so on. San Francisco could more so use more world class cultural institutions than it has, that's one area to which I feel it falls a bit short in while Boston could use more of a global link. San Francisco could use a better and more suitable transit network for it's area, in this case I feel Boston is quite a good bit ahead on that front.

All of these cities have only one of two things keeping them from being as globally competitive and high on the food chain. Just one or two things they must address but they have the backbone in place. I suppose my only disagreement with Fitzrovian was that I cant find 10 or 12 suitable American cities that can internationally compete on all fronts, possibly 6 and maybe give a pass to Miami-- which is arguable.

Now then there's the Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver, Detroit, Phoenix crowd. These cities have much more work ahead of them and much more than just one or two things they need to immediately address. Houston/Atlanta/Dallas could use more quality urban environments, better transit network, more depth in culture, while they're all reducing crime (Houston & Dallas far more so aggressively) that also needs to be addressed to first world standards but they are not the worst in the US-- more middle of the pack and in Atlanta & Dallas' case more cultural institutions, Atlanta also needs to start better pulling it's weight in terms of economics & cosmopolitanism. These cities have a decades long road ahead as they plan and address these issues-- problem is, there wont be much help from the feds in terms of transit (for anyone actually). Philadelphia needs to address cosmopolitanism, it has good cultural institutions for the US but not stellar ones for any global standard, it needs to lower crime and blight, needs to work on becoming more of an international icon for business or even as a leisure destination the airport of the city speaks for itself, as well as become more globally competitive economically. It has a good transit system for the US but it needs to address modernization and extensions. Cities like Seattle and Denver punch above their weight (for the US) and are economically relevant and becoming more so but they have transit, cultural institutions, cosmopolitanism (not just Asia but they need better rounded package-- especially Denver), and more urbanity (again they pull above their weight but only for the US). Detroit needs to revamp everything but has a solid backbone in international business. Phoenix, well apply everything I said about Houston/Dallas/Atlanta as well as Seattle/Denver/Minneapolis to it.

Miami to me needs to attract more brain power, by far it's the least impressive of them all (well maybe Phoenix & Detroit are a bit worse off). It needs to address crime issues and living conditions and become more globally competitive in terms of business and economics and also get more in the way of cultural institutions. The city has the potential to be up there as it already has the leisure part to it and is seen as a destination.

All of these American cities have to address their dysfunctionality (as Fitzrovian said) in terms of crime, blight, economics, urban environment, infrastructure, culture, transit, so on.

Ehhh, when you look at Europe's second, third, or fourth tier cities like Lisbon, Stockholm, Brussels, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Valencia, The Hague, Manchester, so on-- true these cities don't exactly have the business & economic advantage of the US cities (well not all of them, some do) and not all of them are are deep into cosmopolitanism but they all have stellar transit, infrastructure, cultural institutions, safety, progression, architecture, and an urban environment that puts larger American cities to shame.

As a country, we have A LOT of work to do. It shouldn't just be about economics and business, it should also be about infrastructure, safety, urban environments, transit, cultural institutions, so on.

Importance/economics/business http://globaltalentstrategy.com/en/a...ties-index-169 =/= quality urban environment (with culture, safety, density, transit, infrastructure, so on). American cities on average slant towards one and the other goes largely ignored.

Last edited by Facts Kill Rhetoric; 01-26-2013 at 05:16 PM..
 
Old 01-26-2013, 05:13 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,544 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
#eastcoast>westcoast
I agree with this but still choose Barcelona.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,497 posts, read 7,781,934 times
Reputation: 7321
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
which cities/metros in the US would you say does a good job against Barcelona overall with all the criteria originally listed? NYC and a few others are arguable if we strip out some chunks of the metro and city.
None.

New York is larger and commonly I think of it as in another tier.

The rest, when you say get their act together-- they don't. Not enough to compete with the infrastructure, culture, urban environment, so on. Yes, probably economically but that does absolutely nothing to compensate for the loss in other categories.

If Barcelona was in the United States, it could arguably (albeit being smaller) be the uncontested second best city in the country.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA
2,346 posts, read 3,225,633 times
Reputation: 1077
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I don't understand what the gloating is. Pretty much all US cities can't compare to Barcelona in almost any of the aspects listed save for NYC. Both SF and Philly are cowtowns in comparison which isn't surprising since those two are pretty much in the same tier. If anything, there should be some kind of disappointment that US cities are so blegh.
I didn't even hint that San Francisco is in Barcelona's league. Philly is not in the same league as San Francisco, ok maybe for urban and walkable but thats it.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 06:15 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,253 posts, read 2,465,370 times
Reputation: 1556
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Even our good/best cities have a tremendous amount of blight, poverty, crime and disinvestment compared to those in other developed countries. A good deal of the criteria save for weather (depends on the cities and preferences), affordability and multiculturalism and the like (which does not mean everyone gets along or that things are equitable) listed in the original post swing towards the cities of the developed country and often heavily. The big thing US cities/metros have is economic clout which is really great for those high enough up the food chain. Now aside from the economic factor (which is a very big one) which cities/metros in the US would you say does a good job against Barcelona overall with all the criteria originally listed? NYC and a few others are arguable if we strip out some chunks of the metro and city. Or maybe take some smaller cities who have their **** together and we adjust for size--maybe.

And yea, there are exceptions in the US of different sizes and configurations.
How many cities in the US (other than NY) can compete with Barcelona "overall"? None. But Barcelona is among the 5-10 greatest cities in the world. Its an unrealistic benchmark. How many cities in the Americas outside the US can compete with Barcelona? One? Two? I can think of only two countries that have two urban centers of Barcelona's caliber: Japan and Spain. US is not one of them but we have a few cities that belong in the next tier, which is not so bad.

Last edited by Fitzrovian; 01-26-2013 at 06:32 PM..
 
Old 01-26-2013, 06:24 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,253 posts, read 2,465,370 times
Reputation: 1556
@ valentro -

I didn't mean to suggest that we have 10-12 cities that can compete on all fronts. There aren't that many cities in the World that can "compete on all fronts" - maybe 10-12 total!

What I meant was that if you look at our top 10-12 it's a great collection of cities ... probably a better one than any other country can muster up. What other country has cities of the caliber of Boston, Philly or Miami that are not even among the top 5 of that country?

And yes, ALL of our cities have a lot of work to do - including NYC - but let's not forget that we do have plenty of fine, exciting urban destinations (warts and all) and we should be thankful for it.
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