Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young

Why are cities so focused on attracting and retaining 25-34 year olds? According to the NY Times article, Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young, “by 2012, the work force will be losing more than two workers for every one it gains. Cities that do not attract them now will be hurting in a decade.

The cities with the greatest % of young adults seem to be doing quite well, while the cities with the largest gains from 1990-2000 are (% gain, followed by 2000 overall % of total population):
1. Las Vegas, NV – 105% growth, though misleading because the overall % is only 3%
2. Charlotte, NC – 57%, 7%
3. Austin, TX – 56%, 10%
4. Portland, OR – 50%, 6%
5. Atlanta, GA – 46% (highest among the 25 largest U.S. cities), 9%

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce just released a study documenting why they came out on top in that regard, citing a low cost of living, perception as a diverse and open culture, large international populations, a significant gay community, 45 colleges and universities in the metro area, The Cartoon Network headquarters, myriad companies in the technology and entertainment sectors, and a thriving music industry. Now they’re working on establishing a more pedestrian-oriented urban fabric, which is currently not an Atlanta strength.

Some other ideas from creative cities mentioned in the article:

– Lansing, MI – An Entertainment Express trolley travels from bar to bar.
– Portland, OR – A hip advertising firm’s employees watch indie rock concerts at lunch and play ‘bump’, an abbreviated form of basketball, every afternoon.
– Memphis, TN – A new urban biosciences research park will open just blocks from the nightlife of Beale Street.