OKC Appears Ahead of Regional Peers on Creative Cities International's "Vitality Index"


Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 6:00 am By: Linda Lees


American cities see cultural impact as vital to their economic future, according to a major urban index published today by New York-based consultancy Creative Cities, LLC


New York, NY (July 20, 2011)  Creative Cities International, LLC (CCI) announces its Vitality Index™ ranking of 35 U.S. cities from a surprisingly different point of view:  They actually asked people what they like about their city and what can make it better.  Chicago leads the list, followed by New York, Seattle, and San Francisco.


The Vitality Index™ (VI) takes a new look at what makes exciting cities - big or small - work, weighting cultural data equally with information on trends, costs, and demographic data.


CCI gathered data on “vitality factors” through questionnaires to city officials and an online survey in each of the 35 cities selected, paying attention to cultural and athletic attractions, night life, street life, educational opportunities, cafe society, and general creative dynamism. 


“We wanted to know how people experience their city and what they value,”  says Linda Lees, Director of CCI.  “What they expressed most clearly is the desire to be around other people.  They care about great public spaces, exciting neighborhoods, street life - opportunities to engage with their city and its citizens.”


Great communities also share another essential: “good messiness.”  From the report:


“The vitality of a creative city distinguishes it from just any urban environment... That creative tension, which is the result of an entrepreneurial spirit combined with restless talent wanting the city to be more remarkable or provide better outlets for ideas and energy equals what we call “good messiness.”  It is the energy we find in exciting places that is difficult to define but immediately felt.  (And just as readily felt when it isn’t there.) “


Besides the cities at the top of the ranking, Chicago, New York, and Seattle, CCI highlights other smaller cities like Detroit, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, among others, each with a different but distinctive story to tell: 

“It’s great to see more activity and people living downtown.” (Kansas City) 

“Regent Square - variety of shops and restaurants that attract people but does not lose its neighborhood feel”  (Pittsburgh)

“Fayetteville Street:  Reborn from a dead pedestrian mall just a few years ago.” (Raleigh)


Cities in the study are Chicago, Memphis, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Raleigh, Boston, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Denver, Columbus, Portland, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Miami, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Tampa, Charlotte, Tulsa, Washington, DC, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Houston.


The Vitality Index™ can help guide cities to make better choices -  to support programs and policies that are clearly, and verifiably, enriching the lives of their citizens in economic and cultural ways and also give them pause about pursuing policies that don’t or won’t.  The real value of the VI is in its usefulness as a means of improving the quality of life for the residents of the city by staying in touch with their desires and aspirations.


For the complete ranking, go to http://www.creativecities.org/vi.html

For more information, contact:  Linda Lees at info@creativecities.org


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