Tuesday, August 27, 2013

(UPDATE) OK, So We're Not No. 2, But ...

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Thanks, caller Ray ! So we're not number two, but 19, because Greatist.com listed them in reverse alphabetical order. So, we switched places with Phoenix from last year and that makes Tucson 19th ... and I'm still left scratching my head ...

I can't help but scratch my head over the reasons that Tucson came in second in 19 is listed in Greatist.com's 2013 list of the 20 Best Cities for 20-Somethings, one spot above behind Washington, D.C., and right behind before third-placed Seattle.

New York City-based Greatist.com, described on its website as "the trusted health & fitness source for the young, savvy, and social," had this to say about Tucson:

Take a deeeeep breath. Tucson is one of the cleanest cities in the U.S., as measured by year-round particle pollution. That should come in handy when we’re panting heavily on a bike, hike, or simple jog. Surrounded by mountain ranges, this year-round sunny city is the place for outdoor activity aficionados, especially cyclists. A program called “Bicycle Boulevards” helps turn city streets into safe pathways for bikers. And unlike some of the other cities on this list (cough New York cough), Tucson’s not a place where we’ll end up blowing our whole paycheck: The city’s been rated one of the most affordable places to rent an apartment. Spend some of that extra dough at the restaurants, bars, and boutiques in the historic Fourth Avenue district.

By the way, last year, Phoenix came in at 19 (Austin came in second). But this year, Greatist.com says it had new criteria for this latest list:

" ... this year we expanded our scope: Does a city provide ethnic and cultural diversity? Can you walk in peace or are the streets packed with cars?"

I forgot to mention the stats listed for Tucson for the 2013 entry:

Average Temp (High, Low): 82, 55
Per capita Income: $20,460
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apt: $669
Population: 524,295
Median Age: 33

I love Tucson, but there's the reality of living in Tucson and I'm just not sure where the folks at Greatist.com got their info. Maybe from the hipster travel blog that came through one day, touched some adobe and granted us instant hipster status? Maybe.

First, in the description of the city and the air quality. During the winter, a climb up Tumamoc and look out over the city made the brown crud that hung over our streets instantly obvious before even seeing the Pima County air quality warnings that were issued on and off until some rain finally hit town. Then, the bike paradise designation. Folks who love to ride in Tucson love their bikes, but a good portion of them are constantly involved to making bike riding better and others have been outspoken about dealing with traffic tickets and almost getting smushed by those wonderful Tucson drivers. So, yeah, I'm not sure whose Tucson Greatist.com is talking about.

Looking at the stats, if they talked to a local they might learn a few things: Tucson, with a per capita income of $20,460, is the sixth-poorest large city in the country. One-bedroom rent at $669 might seem like a ganga by Washington, D.C., and Seattle standards. But the truth is that even folks making a little more than the per capita income listed are having a hard time making it. Tucson is a low-wage city with many folks having to smile and swallow when they say, "Well, at least rent is cheap."

Thanks, Greatist.com. You may want to warn those 20 somethings that some fortitude is needed during the summer since the average temp is definitely not 82 degrees come monsoon.


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