On Tuesday, June 18th, CBS Morning News will be doing a feature based on our rankings of all 379 U.S. metros areas for their risk from natural disasters. According to the producers, it should air about 7:45am local time.
We compiled this list at the request of the New York Times, which wondered – in the face of all these calamities (tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, extreme cold and heat, hail and stifling humidty), where could one go to have a reasonable expectation of safety from natural disasters?
Here are the top ten metros with the lowest risk of natural disasters. (there is a full list of all 379 metros at the end of this post.)
1 Corvallis, OR
2 Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
3 Bellingham, WA
4 Wenatchee, WA
5 Grand Junction, CO
6 Spokane, WA
7 Salem, OR
8 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
9 Yakima, WA
10 Olympia, WA
And continuing our list, here are the ten places with the greatest risk from natural disasters…
Continue reading “CBS News Features Sperling’s Natural Hazards Ranking”…
Triumph of the City
How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
Edward Glaeser, PhD
In his widely acclaimed book, Dr. Glaeser extolls the virtues of large cities, in fact the bigger the better. He explores how residents of the largest cities are healthier, wealthier, smarter, more productive, and greener than folks living in smaller places.
In his 270-page book, the author takes us on a tour of several of the world’s largest and most important cities to tell their story and help us understand what makes some cities thrive, while others (like Detroit) fail.
However, Dr. Glaeser is an economist, not an urbanist, and his examples and arguments seem simplistic and naïve when one is familiar with the forces influencing urban development. He falls back on the popular practice of cherry-picking certain examples which illustrate his point.
Continue reading “Review – Triumph of the City”…
The annual American Fitness Index is well-intentioned but conflicting metrics dilute its focus.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released their sixth annual American Fitness Index (AFI) which “evaluates the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles in the 50 most populous metro areas in the United States.”
I’m going review their study and tell you what they did right, and where the ACSM could improve their analysis. In fact, I’ll show you how in their effort to make a great study, they actually ended up making their index much weaker.
Continue reading “America’s Fittest Cities – ACSM”…
Institution Incentivizes Indecency
(Okay, maybe the subtitle is a little hysterical but I’m a sucker for alliteration.)
Portland has this slogan “Keep Portland Weird” (which they stole from Austin, how lame is that?) And as part of their celebration of weirdness, they have the annual Naked Bike Ride. There is a World Naked Bike Ride, but Portland claims to have the largest, maybe 5,000 riders.
(At the end of this post, I’ve have links to photos and videos of the Portland ride.)
But this year it gets a little weirder, with the help of a venerable Portland institution.
Continue reading “Portland Just Got a Lot Weirder”…
Another half-baked and misleading list from another site desperate to attract readers.
U.S. News recently released a list of The 10 Worst Places to Retire. Wow, I thought, these places must be awful to be chosen as “the worst”. They must have deadly air and water pollution, rampant crime, unchecked disease, unsafe nursing homes, no public transit, and are probably bankrupt to boot.
Actually, the U.S. News analysis consisted of only one criteria, the metro’s cost of living. As the article explains their methodology, “Retiring in a city with an inordinately high cost of living means you will have to save more money and invest more successfully just to make ends meet.”
Continue reading “U.S. News names “Worst Places to Retire””…
Which city produces the most pro football players? Either all-time or the modern era, it’s the same place.
It may not be our national pastime, but football is probably the most-followed sport in America. It’s certainly got the biggest single game – pigskin fanatic or not, chances are you’ll be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Cities that can lay claim to the title of Super Bowl Champion change every year, but are there places where football excellence has been consistent for decades?
We wondered too, and thought about what it means to be a great football town. We decided it’s more than wins and losses, attendance, and championships. Heck, maybe there isn’t even an NFL team in town. More importantly, it’s where there’s touch games in the street, an old tire to throw to in every yard, and families spend their weekends at the Pop Warner field.
Continue reading “Best Football Cities”…
The New York Times announces “The 46 Places to Go in 2013“
Now this is not just a list of interesting spots. Oh, no. This is a list of “THE” places you must visit, and because the places have been precisely and lovingly vetted and curated, there are exactly 46 of them.
Not 50 places, because any hack can throw together a list with a nice round number like that. By choosing 46 locations, it lends an air of precision and perfection to the crafting of the list.
So check this out… At #7, out of all the places in the world, is Houston (yes, that Houston… Texas.) Right after Rio, Marseille, Nicaragua, Accra (Ghana), Bhutan, and Amsterdam. (“What’s in Houston? Culture and food.”)
And the reason that their choice of Houston is interesting is that it was #1 in our list of the top 20 Coolest Cities in the U.S., which we did with Forbes in July 2012.
Continue reading “Houston – The Place to Go?”…
One explanation why different states think the way they do
I’ve looked for explanations why there are geographic pockets of behavior or thinking. I’ve looked for reasons to explain why some attributes, conditions, traits, behaviors, qualities and characteristics seem to cluster in certain areas, while residents of other places tend towards the opposite.
Why do certain states reliably vote in predictable patterns? Why is the South especially prone to violent crime? I’ve performed regression analyses and searched for correlations between certain variables such as income, education, climate, occupations, geography, housing, recreation, cost of living and crime.
Continue reading “Nice State, Mean State”…
What the numbers tell us about firearm legislation
In the wake of the terrible mass murder at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, there is a great deal of solemn intoning that Something Must Be Done.
- Click to view – Firearm Deaths by State and Motive
As you listen to the discussion, it’s important to remember that there are different kinds of gun deaths and with one category, firearm laws appear to have a big effect on reducing the number of fatalities. On the other category, the relationship is not so clear.
But back to the rhetoric.
Some politicians and experts are looking for stronger gun control laws to limit access to deadly weapons and others want increased emphasis on psychological screening, with the notion that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” A few gun advocates believe the answer is MORE guns, so that any threat is met with a hail of gunfire from armed bystanders or guards before innocent victims are harmed. (I’m reminded of the recent shootout in New York City where nine bystanders were injured, all by police gunfire.)
I analyzed statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focusing on the deaths from firearms during for the period of 2009-1999 (the most recent available). I looked at the differences between firearm deaths between different states and metro areas, comparing the number of deaths with each state’s gun control legislation as scored by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
I’ve published all the data for the states and the 379 major metro areas and made it available in a spreadsheet for your download and further analysis.
Continue reading “Three Kinds of Gun Deaths”…
Forbes has released a new slideshow, “America’s 20 Dirtiest Cities“, which is based mostly on data readily available on our Sperling’s BestPlaces website (www.bestplaces.net).
The Forbes list and the story is pretty straightforward; a callout of the large U.S. metro areas with the worst scores for air and water quality, plus measures of toxic releases and Superfund sites.
And It’s a fairly accurate list. All the places named have issues, but I’ve got to say that I’m not proud of being associated with stories like this.
Stories like this focus on the negative, and have titles guaranteed to be irresistable to the casual web browser – America’s Dirtiest Cities, Miserable Cities, Worst Cities to Live, Depressing Cities, Dangerous Cities, Dying Cities, Drunkest Cities, Fattest Cities, Worst Schools, and Dumbest Cities.
Continue reading “I’m Sorry”…