April 7, 2009

The hopes, aspirations and pride of a city

Following up on the most miserable US cities (blogged here), Forbes has a list of most livable cities.

#1 spot is Portland, Maine! Bethesda, Md., and Des Moines, Iowa., round out the top three, followed by Bridgeport/Stamford, Conn., and Tulsa, Okla.

Wow..DSM in top 3 livable city! As someone who lived in Iowa for some time, I hazard a guess that these guys did not have things-to-do in their list of what makes a city livable, huh! ;)

Actually, its funny how some cities have strange associations that go with them. I am sure Des Moines is a great city to live in but as a 20-something year old, much as I loved the university environment in Ames, DSM did not seem like a place I'd love to live in. So, I would never have put DSM in top-20, let alone top-3 most livable city.

Same with Portland, Maine. Whenever anyone mentions Portland, Maine ...the first thing that I remember is that it was the airport from where Mohammad Atta took a plane to Boston before he hijacked the plane on 9-11. I remember some CCTV pics of him cooly walking in through security at the Portland, Maine airport.

Actually, I have not read the article. Maybe I should. Not sure what factors other than crime, unemployment, and cost-of-living were considered. I'd have thought tough winters would have ruled out Maine but seemingly there are many other good features to living there. Funnily, just last week when I met someone for lunch, he said many years ago when a job brought them from California to Portland, Maine, they went out to live in a smaller college town nearby - because Portland was all boarded out and a horrible downcast city back then -- this was early 60s. And to think today I read that Portland, Maine is deemed the most livable US city by some.

And so it goes....

When you look at a city, it's like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it.” - Hugh Newell Jacobsen

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