Can a city be smart? How do you measure its intelligence if it can be? Well, some believe that cities can have the smarts. Several lists have come out in the last year to indicate the brain power of a city. Fast Company has done one, last November, taking a very methodological, scientific approach to its rankings. Their list employs 28 indicators for measuring a city's intelligence, using more than 15 different sources to do it. Fast Company's approach has gotten even smarter (can this be measured?) by grouping indicators under the headings of Smart Enviro, Smart Gov, Smart Living, Smart Mobility, Smart People and Smart Economy. In their usual dramatic way, they claim smart cities were the savior of us all.
Wait a minute! Fast Company might believe they are the authority on gauging the brightness of the cities in the USA, but others have come forward with their own rankings. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) has been putting out a most literate cities list since 2005. Their methodology is as intensive as Fast Company, but instead of using all sorts of indicators, they keep their data elements closer to direct correlations to city's smarts. By looking at educational attainment data and individual's access to education opportunities like newspapers, magazines, booksellers and libraries, CCSU has built a solid case for itself to be the exhaustive list.
Not so fast! Lumosity, a website where visitors play brain games, begs to differ. They have collected all their big data of game playing to put together their own list. They imply this approach is the most direct way to measure a city's intelligence. It is a one-to-one relationship from people's ability to play their games to their city's collective smarts. Of course, what about all those people who don't play those games?
It is only fair then to look at all three lists when ranking smart cities. Since it is blatant that Fast Company and CCSU put a little more thought into their rankings, they weigh higher in the calculations. Of course, we still consider Lumosity, because who knows, they might have a point.
5 Portland, Oregon
4 San Francisco, California
3 Washington DC
2 Boston, Massachusetts
Seattle ranks high in all three of the lists. Fast Company has it at number one while CCSU has it second only behind Washington DC. Lumosity ranked Settle at thirty ninth in playing its brain games. Let's just admit. Seattle is the best city in the world, bar none. One can be sure all other cities are looking to Seattle as the model to follow. After all, Fast Company points out that it has a Happiness Initiative, which measures the happiness of people living in the area. Because it is a happy city, Seattle ranks fourth in the Global Economics Startup index and shares more data sets to the public than just about any other city. Seattle is also known for its flying fish at the Pike Market, the gum wall (yuck) and wining the Super Bowl this past January. With all this, plus a downtown that has everything, how could it rank any lower than number one. Let's all move to Seattle so we can be smart and happy!
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