Tuesday, October 13

in the news: how smart is your city

At the Daily Beast this week, there is a sorta scientific and sorta not ranking of the country's smartest and dumbest cities. Here's how they did it. Now, if you are a reader of my blog over at sarazarr.com, you know I am a transplant from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, and my husband and I are starting to look for a way to go back. Since SF is so freaking expensive, we are open to other cities. The intellectual environment is important! So maybe this list could help us decide where we'd consider living. Here are how our current and past dwellings ranked, along with the rankings of the cities we've been talking about moving to:

San Francisco Bay Area (the homeland) = #2! See? My love for SF is not just about the mild climate, the ocean, and dim sum. And here I would like to point out that the Raleigh-Durham area is #1. Guess who is from Raleigh? My mother and her whole family. Booyah!

Salt Lake City (the current residence) = #14. Not bad at all. It is only one city away from New York (#13). High scores in book sales pushed us over the edge, apparently. There are a lot of great writers here, you know, and we love to buy books.

Denver = #5. I've always liked Denver, and now that I know how smart it is I like it even more. Drawback: still too far from the ocean. Drawback #2: Broncos fans.

Seattle/Tacoma = #7 in a tie with D.C. Who wouldn't want to live in Seattle? I know the rain is a killer, but it is gorgeous and full of walkable, livable neighborhoods.

Portland, OR = #9. I fell in love with this place when there for the KidlitBloggerCon or whatever it was called last year. It's progressive, beautiful, and has great public transport. And now I know it also has a really big brain.

That's it! We haven't really considered moving east or south, but if we did maybe we'd go for #1 Raleigh or #12 Austin. Everywhere else in the top 15 is too cold!


Anonymous said...

First, we looked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. We focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking.

I think they lost me right here ... you're smarter if you read nonfiction than fiction?

I think the implication that nonfiction can't be fluff is almost as odd as the notion that fiction is overwhelmingly not thought provoking.

Or maybe I'm just bitter at seeing Tucson down at #34? :-)

Sara Z. said...

I know - what if it's all diet books and Joel Osteen?!

Daisy Whitney said...

I live in SF! And I used to live in Denver...(And I'm a Little Brown author too...THE MOCKINGBIRDS comes out next fall!)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Come to Danbury!

Gerb said...

Hmmm. Interesting selection process. Not sure I agree with their criteria, but I'm happy to see Seattle/Tacoma so high on the list. Never lived there, but I am so in love every time I visit.

Did live in Washington, D.C. area, though, and I loved it there, too. It's a culture unto itself - and you can take the train to NYC.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Howdy! Austin here! Hey, we have one of the liveliest children's-YA communities in the country, we're very friendly, and I throw excellent parties! Over three hundred days of sunshine, live music, indie film, live theater, green, green, green....! Let me know if you have any questions!

Sara Z. said...

nice pitch, cyn :)

Wendy Toliver said...

Yeah, the criteria is a little odd but I don't think it's terrible for a first stab at making such a list.

I agree, Austin is great. I'm delighted to see Denver so highly ranked. And Sara, how did I not know you're a Broncos fan? Denver has the best sports teams and fans ever!

Thanks for posting this. Very interesting!

Sara Z. said...

haha Wendy, I said Broncos fans are a *drawback* :)

Wendy Toliver said...

Oh, duh. I read that totally wrong. Well, the good thing about NOT being a Broncos fan and living in Denver is you'll have the entire city to yourself if you want to go to the movies or shopping b/c everybody else will be watching the games. And as a side, at least we don't walk around with wedges of cheese on our heads.

Melissa Walker said...

Woohoo! Having grown up in Chapel Hill, NC, I'm all for the Triangle being #1. Raleigh isn't so hot, but my beloved CH? Divine.

BookChic said...

You should totally move to Raleigh/Durham (or thereabouts- maybe Chapel Hill like Melissa said, lol). It's a great place and then you'd be closer to me. And really, that's what all authors want, hehe. :P

Good luck with the search!

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely on the edge of everything up here in Fairbanks, Alaska. I was drawn by the extremes; endless summer sun and, well, you know the opposite in winter. I felt pretty isolated during the query phase of my writing life. But now that I have an agent, (my YA novel will be out on submission soon), I feel much more connected to the writing world.

On my blog,Northwriter, I offer a few more thoughts about living and writing in the North. Stop by if you're curious.

And Sara, I just want to say that I love your books. Keep cranking them out.

Paul Greci

Sara Z. said...

Thanks, Paul. And, yeah, Alaska is pretty far out!