Friday, October 14, 2005

Poverty v. Most Livable City - Bloggers, Speak Up!

I am still alive.
I have spent the last three weeks in conference hell in three different cities, but I am home now.
As previously mentioned, there is much going on in my world right now (family, school-learning, school-teaching, school-GAing, among other things) so the amount of writing I would normally like to do will be put on hold until some of these other things are finished… that would be sometime in December.

I really wanted to comment on an issue I have not read much in other NEO Blogs… or maybe I just have not noticed it. As many of you know, the City of Cleveland was recently awarded the distinction of being the most livable city in the country (along with Pittsburgh) and one of the most livable in the world by the folks at the Economic Intelligence Unit, the publishers of the uber-cool magazine, The Economist.
(Something I have been telling people for years, by the way – mostly out of town visitors I would talk with when I drove a cab. On a side note, I have had a least four different instances were I was driving passengers visiting from New York City around town and they would tell me how much they loved coming to Cleveland. Each of those times they told me in there own that one of the reasons they loved to visit here was because anything they could do in NYC they could do here in Cleveland for half the amount of money.)
According to CNN, “The EIU study assessed nearly 40 indicators in five broad categories -- stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.”
This has been the talk of the Neo-Blogosphere all week as well as those outside the area. (here and here)

Now let’s go back a year and think about what was plastered all over the front page of the PD and written about almost weekly. Do you remember? I’ll give you a one-word hint – poverty. Ring a bell? Cleveland was supposedly the poorest big city in the country according to misinterpreted data by the Census Bureau.

Ok, now we will go back a little more then a week - October 6 to be exact - The PD published a 228-word “article” by Emily Hamlin on the findings of the EIU. WOW! You would think with all of the “Believe in Cleveland” hype going on (or lack of), there would have an something written everyday promoting this; but there has not. It is really sad.

Now about the issue I mentioned in the beginning. Why has nobody else brought this up? There are clearly more qualified and well-written bloggers out there that have the audience to make this into something, but I have not seen anything.


sean said...

My blog isn't exactly the most well read in NEO, but I brought this up here and here.

Pho said...

Something we discussed in an Urban Politics class about 20 years ago though I haven't read anything more recent: Cleveland is supposedly hemmed in by surrounding cities to a much higher degree than other cities. That is to say, as Cleveland was growing, its suburbs incorporated faster than in other cities. Whereas other cities absorbed their equivalent of Shaker Heights, U Heights, etc., in NEO they became cities before becoming part of the big city.

If this is true, it gives some explanation for the "poorest city" tag. The finding was actually the greatest concentration of poverty. Well, you will have a "great concentration" of poverty in a city that is heavily poor inner-city neighborhoods without as many middle/upper class neighborhoods to offset them statistically.
If some survey found life sucking unbearably in Cuyahoga County or in a 4-5 county area around Cleveland, I would say there is cause for concern. But I have always viewed poverty surveys of Cleveland proper with some scepticism.

Of course the whole "Cleveland hemmed in by surrounding cities" thing could be, ahem, an urban legend. I would be happy to hear from someone with better info.