Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mesofacts Iowa

Perception is migration. Mesofacts matter. That's why Baltimore is desperate to distinguish itself from the likes of Pittsburgh and Cleveland. It's also why we might think that what works in Denver will work in Dayton:

You aren’t getting the point of bike share- it’s an extension of your transportation system- not your actual transportation system. There are 20K students at Sinclair afraid to leave campus because they’ll lose their parking space. There are 10K students at UD who don’t have bikes- and parking is at a premium. Premier Health Partners has buildings downtown and at MVH- bikes back and forth work well.

It’s about having a bike available anytime- not having your own bike with you. And don’t tell me about our seasons- Denver has more snow than us.

Denver may have more snow, but I'd bet it also has more bikeable days than Dayton. A survey of the climate data doesn't provide a useful understanding of Denver's weather. Snow. Mile High City. Tap the Rockies. Mesofacts. Truth is, Denver has one of the best climates in the entire country for bicycle transportation. Keep that under your tossle cap.

I enjoy tracking the shifting of geographic stereotypes. Iowa is as good as place as any to watch the transformation:

Outside of the state, perceptions abound that Iowa is a fairly lackluster place. “No major cities, no major professional sports, but plenty of corn and the presidential caucuses,” the meme goes. But we Iowans appreciate the quality of life, and it helps that is affordable and in reach for most. Des Moines is no Chicago, just as is Iowa City no Austin, yet there are economic advantages in our geography and size.

“Iowa has won good marks for its economic strategy,” said Tim Sheehy, the president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, to the Milwaukee Journal. “Some of the work that we did early on looked at Des Moines.”

The cities of Iowa are a lot like Pittsburgh in that they are receiving a recent wealth of positive press. Outsiders will eventually catch on and, at some point, hip destinations such as Austin inevitably jump the shark. More on the latter tomorrow.

No comments: