This post declared to be #9th Worst City Ranking of 2012 by Twin City Sidewalks

[I don't know what this is, but it's terrible.]
Make no mistake: city rankings are out of control. They must be contained.

To that end, I have developed a unique methodology that ranks all the rankings. A team of researchers in the Twin City Sidewalks offices (my cat/intern and myself) weighed different factors in determining the outcome. We placed particular emphasis on factors like ‘shallowness’, ‘elitism’, 'lickability' (my cat/intern's preferred metric), and ‘statistical stupidity.’ Here are the results...

The 10 Worst City Ranking Lists of 2012

#1. Forbes Most Hipster Neighborhooods List: OK Forbes, Listen up. Hipsters are unquantifiable.  You can't count them! Want to hear a joke? A hipster walks into a bar. Hipster says, “This bar sucks. It's full of hipsters.” The paradox is this: whatever area is declared “the most hipster neighborhood" by Forbes magazine is automatically the least hipster neighborhood according to the rules of hipster logic. Yogi Berra once said, of a popular club, “nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.” The same is true of hipsters. Forbes' list is totally last year.

#2. Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live List: For me, this is the worst places to live list. Money Magazine's inclusion of the caveat, "And they're true communities, too" is all the evidence you should require that these places aren't real places, that "there is no there there" (as Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland). Obviously the title needs to be changed. My suggestion? “Money Magazine’s Best Places to Tell Co-Workers You Live If You Covet That Promotion to Vice-President In Charge of Bougie Consumer Trends.”

#3. Businessweek.com/Bloomberg's Best City Rankings: (The rankings description begins with the humorous correction, "This story has been corrected. A reference to a former pedestrian mall has been removed." I just had to point that out.) The rule of thumb for city ranking lists: the more specific the list, the better. Any list that is too vague is worthless.  For example, a "best city list" is not as good as a "best outdoor city list", which is not as good as a "best mountain biking city list", which is not as good as a list of the "best cities for unicycle juggling." That’s why Businessweek.com's highly generic “best city” rankings are worthless. The "best city" for who? For mountain climbers or lawnmower salesmen or winos? This is the Best City List for me to poop on.

#4. Any "best biking city" list that doesn’t have Portland at the top: I'm looking at you, Bicycling Magazine. If you count the number of people riding bicycles, which you should, Portland is easily the best bicycling city in the USA. Any other criteria are irrelevant. It shouldn’t matter how cold the bike messengers are, or how bored the editor at Bicycling magazine has become.

#5. ATKearney's Annual Global City Index: "Global cities" is a dumb concept that simply stands in for finance capitalism, under the false guise of place. Global city rankings are empty sychophantism disguised as social science. Tom Friedman would be proud.

#6. Central Connecticut State University's Most Literate City List: I hate to pick on a dumpy Connecticut town, but this list is basically a proxy for wealth. I'm pretty sure they just count the number of subscriptions to the Financial Times per capita. Why not call it what it is: America's Top Snob Cities List?

#7. Advocate.com's Gayest Cities in America list: This list has easily the worst methodology out there, including 'Number of Gay.com profiles' and 'number of softball teams that competed in the Gay Softball World Series.' Of course, it's intentionally ridiculous. Which makes it OK. And funny. Still, though, they definitely deserve a place in the Top 10 for their terrible desperate-for-hits website formatting.

#8. Carbuzz's Most Congested Cities in America list: Believe it or not, congestion is a good thing. It’s a sign of economic activity and social relevance. As my colleague Chuck just pointed out, there’s no congestion in downtown Kansas city because nobody wants to go to downtown Kansas city. Congestion provides the impetus for alternative (more efficient and more humane) transportation. Complaining about traffic is probably the least interesting thing one can do with one's time. Also, their website boasts the worst "infographic" you will ever lay eyes on.

#9. Twin City Sidewalks' 10 Worst City Rankings list: This list is indefensible, a shallow transparent attempt to boost readership by mocking others attempting to boost readership. For shame, Twin City Sidewalks. For shame.

#10. Transportation For America's Worst Metros for Pedestrians list: This list is really good. I have no complaints. Well done!

1 comment:

Brian D. said...

1As far as the validity of the literacy ranking goes, it's certainly telling that Minneapolis ranks highly... while St. Paul suddenly dropped out of the top 10.