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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since there was so much discussion if Charlotte was under- or over-rated, I decided that I better rate everyone.......so much to everyone's pleasure that's what I did. Listed are primary cities of each metro in the South over 1 million people (I cheated by using Norfolk instead of VA Beach, but it still didn't help) and used the most common topics that we bitch and argue about on here.

Metro Population, 5-Mile Population, Miles of rail line (heavy and light rail only), Pro Sports Franchises, Fortune 500 Companies, Top Colleges, Top High Schools, Skyscrapers.

If anyone is interested, I can explain the exact methodology for these different categories and how I weighted each. I did this blind without looking at the results until the end, so as not to favor any city with my criteria or weightings.

Here they are.
Rank City Index
1 Houston 1.00
2 Atlanta 0.95
3 Dallas 0.86
4 Miami 0.80
5 Charlotte 0.39
6 New Orleans 0.34
7 Tampa 0.34
8 San Antonio 0.29
9 Austin 0.28
10 Nashville 0.27
11 Jacksonville 0.24
12 Orlando 0.21
13 Birmingham 0.19
14 Richmond 0.17
15 Memphis 0.16
16 Norfolk 0.15

Now here is the same list normalized by metro population, since obviously larger cities were at an advantage......so this next list is a rank per person.

Rank City Index
1 Charlotte 1.00
2 New Orleans 0.98
3 Atlanta 0.77
4 Austin 0.74
5 Jacksonville 0.74
6 Houston 0.74
7 Nashville 0.73
8 Birmingham 0.68
9 San Antonio 0.59
10 Dallas 0.58
11 Miami 0.57
12 Richmond 0.57
13 Memphis 0.50
14 Tampa 0.49
15 Orlando 0.44
16 Norfolk 0.35

Well shit, it truly wasn't my intent for Charlotte to do so well here, but it does somewhat make my case that it offers many of the ammenities that the larger cities do.

I plan to modify this by adding arts (either museums or spending), per capita income, and un-employment. )Please feel free to make suggestions on other categories.....I simply used what are most commonly argued on here.

Of course all of this is very academic and doesn't consider people qualitative values. (avg. temp., "coolness", architecture stylings, or any other subjective matters".
 

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it would be best if you could please explain your methodology and what weighting you gave for each category.
 

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Atlrvr - excellent work! I think this is a useful measure, even it depends on different values.

But... what about the grit rating? ;)

Some other values to consider - park space area, college population, maybe even population within a 5 mile area?
 

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@atlrvr: Very interesting rankings. Reminds me of the "Places Rated Almanac" books that would come out every year, starting in the 80's. Every year the "best" city would change, not because of criteria, but because they would re-analyze the stats and weight some more and some less and add new ones and delete others. But it was always interesting to read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok....

Metro Population was divided by 10,000 to account for larger places have greater drawing power

The Brad's 5-mile population numbers were divided by 2,500 to account for pre-war urban density and infill.

The total number of light or heavy rail tracks for the Metro Authority was multiplied by 5 (did not include commuter rail or streetcars that primarily cater to tourists)

Each Pro Sports Franchise in the metro was multiplied by 50. (includes NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL only)

The number of Fortune 500 companies in the CITY was multiplied by 25.

The number of US News and WR Top 50 undergraduate universities in the metro was multiplied by 100

The number of US News Top 51-100 undergrad univ. and Top 50 Liberal Arts schools in the metro was multiplied by 50.

If the CITY had 1 or more highschools ranked in the top 100 by Newsweek it was given 100 points. If it didn't it got 0.

The number of skyscrapers 30 stories or higher in the CITY was multiplied by 10.

Here is the matrix that was created.

City Metro Pop 5-Mile Pop Track Pro Sports Fortune 500 1-50 Colleges 51-100 Colleges 1-50 LA Schools High Schools 30 Storys Total
Atlanta 471 130 230 200 300 200 0 0 0 330 1861
Austin 141 133 0 0 25 100 0 0 100 40 539
Birmingham 108 82 0 0 50 0 0 0 100 40 380
Charlotte 147 96 0 100 175 0 0 50 100 90 758
Dallas 570 143 133 200 175 0 100 0 100 270 1691
Houston 518 162 38 150 450 100 0 0 0 540 1958
Jacksonville 123 90 0 50 75 0 0 0 100 30 467
Miami 536 163 112 200 50 0 50 0 100 360 1571
Memphis 125 68 0 50 50 0 0 0 0 30 323
Nashville 140 86 0 100 50 100 0 0 0 50 526
New Orleans 132 185 0 100 25 100 0 0 0 120 662
Orlando 186 124 0 50 50 0 0 0 0 10 421
Richmond 115 97 0 0 125 0 0 0 0 0 338
San Antonio 185 159 0 50 125 0 0 0 0 40 559
Tampa 259 89 0 150 0 0 0 0 100 60 658
Norfolk 164 109 0 0 25 0 0 0 0 0 299

Then they were sorted and given index ranking with the best scoring = 1 and everything below that ranked as a percentage of 1.

This same matrix was used for the population normalized rankings except that the total score was divided by the metro pop.

As you can see, in some cased I used metro counts, and others I used city counts....I based my decisions on whether I believe each category interacted with the core city.
(i.e. A college student in a suburb will still interact with the city, whereas a Fortune 500 company typically financially impacts the city it is locate in more than the metro as a whole)
 

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New Orleans 132 185 0 100 25 100 0 0 0 120 662

You put in an "O" for New Orleans Streetcar miles...

The St Charles and Canal lines are mostly used by locals and the total track mileage is around 15 oneway or 30 miles back and forth (both lines are double tracked)

The Riverfront line is mostly just tourist so it would not be included.
 

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I'm kind of lost, but interesting, nevertheless. Some other factors, that should be considered include urban area population density, urban parkland, number of urban housing units (u/c or proposed), number of high-rises over 30 stories (u/c or proposed) and natural urban features (such as rivers and mountains).

I also think commuter rail and streetcar mileage should be added to the mix as well. There just as important in certain metros (New Orleans, for example) than heavy or light rail in other cities.
 

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i'm also lost, but if this includes metro, besides rail, houston also has streetcars within the metro. don't know how many miles it covers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
streetcar......I was wondering about that.....I will fix that in my updates and additions of categories.....thanks.

texasboy......the houston streetcar is a replica that is more aimed at tourists/image than actual public transit correct? I ride Charlotte's historic trolley to work some days, but I didn't include it because it's primary function isn't for commuting/transportation......if I'm wrong I'll glady include Houstons or any other city (Memphis is another I was unsure on. It is extensive, but I'm under the impression that it is mostly aimed at tourists)
 

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atlrvr said:
streetcar......I was wondering about that.....I will fix that in my updates and additions of categories.....thanks.

texasboy......the houston streetcar is a replica that is more aimed at tourists/image than actual public transit correct? I ride Charlotte's historic trolley to work some days, but I didn't include it because it's primary function isn't for commuting/transportation......if I'm wrong I'll glady include Houstons or any other city (Memphis is another I was unsure on. It is extensive, but I'm under the impression that it is mostly aimed at tourists)
I'm speaking of the streetcars in Galveston if you were including metro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lakelander.....I'm definetly adding urban park land. The 5-mile pop serves as my "established area" population density (though I admit it penalizes coastal cities) but it also measures what quantity of people are involved with the urban lifestyle. I decided not to include any future projections because I am more interested in the now, but possibly adding a "number of high-rise completions in the last 3 years" or "5-year % change in 1-mile populations" could show momentum. I think natural features become a qualitative issue. Thanks for the thoughts....I'm definetly refining these to be as inclusive of quantitative issues as I can.
 

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^Jacksonville has a 2.7 mile monorail system that opened in the late 1990's, providing a quick way to get around a downtown that's split by a large river. It isn't much, but its quick and definately serves the local population (office workers) and downtown residents. Miami has a 4 to 5 mile one (Metromover) serving downtown, Brickell and the Omni areas, as well. These systems are very different from the tourist friendly streetcar trolleys recently built in Charlotte,Tampa and Little Rock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not really a joke.......they are all real/unbiased numbers (obviously the transit numbers will have to be corrected) but it is an excercise in quantifying all the "my city is better than yours" issues that people post on here.......

My intent isn't to say which city is the "best", because that is almost always based on opionions beyond factual data. Instead, my intent was purely academic is saying which city "scores best" when all the quanitifiable factors that people bring up for boosting their city is considered.
 

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Cool list atlrvr. I'm curious to know if you considered using high school graduation rates from each metro as well as the percentage of those with a bachelor's degree or higher?
 

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Interesting matrix. I just did a back of the envelope calculation for Raleigh-Durham (although it should probably be Raleigh-Cary now) and got about ~675. Education is the only thing that even brings RDU close to the other metros.

Some other possible categories: Acreage parks, healthcare/hospitals, airport traffic (non layovers) multiple points for multiple high schools in top 100 :). museums, and "major attractions" (this will be tough, probably best to see forumers opinion on this)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Romec......I plan to do the hospitals as # of hospitals ranking on US News Top 50 list in at least 1 category (though I'm not sure if this should include metro hospitals are just within the city). Parks and some sort of museum count will be done, though it's going to be hard. I think I will do airports as a function of how many domestic destinations are served non-stop and how many international destinations are served non-stop (with international weighted greater). I decided not to count multiple high-schools because I really was curious in whether there is a "good option" within a school system, though I might have weighted it too strongly (75 points would probably have been better).
 

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seems as though you used city stats for some like f500 companies, but metro stats for some. why didnt you use metro stats for all. i was wondering how houston got to be number one (not that it isnt deserving, but it lags in most stats like rail lines, pro teams, with not having mls, or nhl, )but i guess the other categories would boost it to the top...i dont know
 

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louisianacharm said:
seems as though you used city stats for some like f500 companies, but metro stats for some. why didnt you use metro stats for all. i was wondering how houston got to be number one (not that it isnt deserving, but it lags in most stats like rail lines, pro teams, with not having mls, or nhl, )but i guess the other categories would boost it to the top...i dont know
My word, if Houston had a t*tty, it would be sucked dry by now. Good grief louisianacharm, it's pretty bad when people can predict your posts before they even read it :eek:hno: . Why don't we discuss how New Orleans got to be number 2 in the metro population stats?

By the way, thanks atlrvr for the work and the stats.
 
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