The list is the second installment of an annual listing of the best downtowns in America and includes communities with downtowns that are walkable, well thought out, and have a wealth of dining and entertainment options.
For the 2012 list, editors narrowed down the more than 500 cities on Livability.com to those with populations between 100,000 and 300,000. They then considered the downtown’s economic vitality, which was assessed by analyzing the city’s unemployment rate, downtown vacancy rate, the distance between residential areas and downtown amenities, and residents’ average income levels.
Editors also looked at how well the city’s downtown reflects what Christopher Leinberger, director of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University, calls the experience economy. In an experience economy, customers value most the memories a place creates for them.
This list highlights cities with downtowns that offer residents and visitors valuable experiences ” museums and theaters for families to visit, restaurants and coffeeshops where friends can gather, shops and boutiques for finding memorable keepsakes, says John Hood, spokesman for Livability.com. We chose cities in which the residents and government leaders have invested in downtown revitalization projects providing a favorable atmosphere for older businesses to thrive and new businesses to grow.
Top 10 Downtowns, 2012
1. Fort Collins, CO
2. Charleston, SC
3. Alexandria, VA
4. Boise, ID
5. Little Rock, AR
6. Stamford, CT
7. Lincoln, NE
8. Provo, UT
9. Hollywood, FL
10. McAllen, TX
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