Thursday, October 19, 2006
Speaking of creative class, I am sure that everyone has heard something about Richard Florida's ranking Albuquerque as the 8th most "creative city" in this fair country? That's a stat that is hard to find in the news. National news prefers to publish the rankings for cities greater than 1 million people. ABQ fell into the second tier cities with a #1 ranking. But when push came to shove, statistically, our ABQ was #8, overall. Only the San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and the rest of the usual suspects came in above us.
Again, what do those cities have that we don't you ask? A highly regarded university that is an institution their very own in-state students aspire to be accepted for admission to along with students from across the country. But I digress. What I'm getting at here is an article http://www.abqjournal.com/biz/gray/492348business09-14-06.htm) published in the Journal a few weeks ago, written by Autumn Grey, discussing the latest trend in design firms setting up shop in our slowly resurrecting downtown. The article highlights two companies, one that has expanded from Austin, and other that has expanded out of New York City.
Searching through news articles, I also stumbled upon a few that have hail an education center of higher learning that the city needs to recognize as they are putting out award winning work with the likes of our countries elite universities. Yet, this news goes by unrecognized, opting instead for shock and horror stories. The Art Center Design College is annually winning awards for it's cutting edge marketing. According to the colleges website, there are nearly 300 students enrolled in their Albuquerque campus, the main campus being in Tucson. Now here's a crazy idea, what if the powers that be in our downtown work to attract this little gem of an institution to our little design-center-in-the-making: DOWNTOWN. We would have several, excellent design companies and an institution pumping out high quality workers for these companies all together in an area where ideas could flow freely like only a critical mass can achieve. Is that not the goal of our economic development organizations? Plus, it would be nice to add another 300 young creative minds to the daily bustle in and around downtown.
Going with the theme of downtown jobs, a Commuter Rail Status Report was published a couple months ago analyzing the affects the train may incur on our job centers throughout the region. I found a few interesting numbers in that report that actually disappointed me. There are, unofficially, 18,900 workers in our Central Business Distict on a given workday. Taking into account the outlying areas that are easily accessible from Alvarado Transportation Center such as UNM, TVI and the hospitals, the number quickly doubles. Still not an impressive number for a metro area zeroing in on a million residents shortly. What is our goal? What do we want to look like? I see efforts to attract jobs, jobs, and more jobs of all types to the area. I've seen us implement commuter rail, and now we're planning for a streetcar. But what's the connection? Where are we going? It all seems so haphazard. Wake up Albuquerque! We need a unified goal. 30,000 jobs in the CBD by 2010? That's a start. 100 more miles of bike lanes? Yes. We need goals and we need leaders to set us in a direction we can all work toward.
And speaking of bike lanes, Dwell Magazine has a nice article highlighting our popular biking scene. I highly recommend everyone to take a look. Our city has a cool, edgy look when photographed.
Posted by Tim at 7:52 PM