I recall when all the buzz in planning circles and academia seemed to surround cities such as Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Seattle and Portland, Ore. That buzz now is hovering over Denver and Fort Worth, Texas.
A plethora of lists, many of them compiled by Forbes.com, have given Oklahoma City leaders a reason to do some chest thumping. They say Oklahoma City is the most recession-proof city, they say it's clean, it's a great place to live and work, etc. And we're told, rightly or wrongly, these lists matter.
Perception gameBut is Oklahoma City making progress where it matters most — in the perception game? Maybe. For every front page New York Times story glowing about the Oklahoma River or downtown Oklahoma City, it seems that there's always this subtle effort to put the city back in its place by reminding readers of the 1995 bombing or the Dust Bowl. Over the past couple of weeks a discussion has been under way at my blog, www.okccentral.com, as to whether downtown Oklahoma City is really on the cutting edge or whether there are other cities that deserve just as much or more attention. Interestingly enough, readers suggested taking a glance at two other cities that suffer from being in "fly-over” land overlooked by national interests — Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. And over the past couple of weeks, I've started a You Tube video tour of these and other downtowns.
Making the cutApparently, I'm not the only one seeking to compare my downtown with those elsewhere.
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