Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Rankings!!!

This time, one that actually makes some sense, as opposed to those Money Magazine best places to live or various other well-published rankings that suggest you should live in Bismarck, North Dakota or BFE, Alabama because the houses are cheap (no shit Sherlock - because nobody wants to live there. How's that fit in your calculations?!) or the public schools won't get your kids shot.

CommonCurrent recently published a report ranking the fifty largest American Cities for their Post-Oil Preparedness. From the ExecSumm:
High gas prices have resulted in sweeping economic impacts. Real estate values in lowdensity, completely car-dependent exurban development—also known as sprawl—have plummeted in comparison to real estate values in central urban or higher-density suburban real estate served by public transit and walkable amenities, which have been holding their relative value.
And I'm going to have to borrow this line, if only because it speaks directly to bizness head's language:
“Sprawl has become the biggest risk factor in real estate,” according to Jeffrey Norquist, President of the Congress for New Urbanism, in reference to the US housing foreclosure crisis of 2008."
Unfortunately, for this report, is that it is John Norquist, not Jeffrey.

Some rankings of note:

The top ten:
1. San Francisco
2. New York
3. Washington, DC
4. Seattle
5. Oakland
6. Chicago
7. Portland, OR
8. Philadelphia
9. Baltimore
10. Boston
It is pretty hard to argue with any of those, although one could probably quibble intuitively with this city over that city or vice versa. Rather, we should probably look at them in quadrants, such as the top 10 (and learn from these cities), the bottom 10, etc.

How's Dallas measure up:

Overall: 32. Behind other notables: Atlanta (14 - wow), Austin (23 - not exactly the nirvana it is made out to be), and (ghasp) Houston (26). That last one hurts. However, Dallas did manage to edge out San Antonio (33), Arlington (34), and Fort Worth (45). Actually, Dallas doesn't beat out a single major city in the country.

With that said, I'm going to have to drill into the content and methodology more closely to see where Dallas fails. While it certainly isn't the model of urban form, it is positioned fairly well (or at least better than Atlanta, Austin, and Houston) with regards to mass transit (DART) and the future of interconnected multi-modal, multi-centric cities/dense cores under a metropolitan planning agency.

So what that tells me is Dallas is doing terribly when it comes to personal lifestyle and mobility choice. Let's see how it does according to these rankings:

Carpooling: 6th with 14.1% - I find this number hard to believe, but whatevs.
Telemarketing: 26th at 3.5% - not exactly taking up the market share people predicted in the 90s eh?
Public Transit Ridership: 26th at 4.2%. Sad, that Dallas probably has better transit than half the cities ahead of it including (F)Arlington which actually is the largest city in the country WITHOUT mass transit, but still...those rankings aren't so bad. Which leads us to:

Walking/Biking to Work: 46th (out of 50). 1.4% walk to work, 0.2% bike. Wow, so I'm actually in less of a minority than a coworker who bikes.

And lastly, most sprawling (which I'm assuming would deal with density per acre or something similar): 43rd. Well, at least not in the part of the city that I choose to inhabit.