Between all of this mortgage meltdown/bank failure discussions is a discussion of city competitiveness. Recent blog posts have focused on Charlotte especially this one from the Urbanophile comparing Charlotte to cities in the rust belt. He comments that Charlotte is leading because of its attitude and that cities in the Midwest outside of Minneapolis and Chicago have just tossed in the towels.
As Ryan has said, Charlotte looks like it won't get hit too hard by sudden bank death syndrome but the Urbanophile's comments got me to thinking. While Charlotte is out there scaring the pants off of not only the Rust Belt, but titans of the South like Tampa and Atlanta, is it really because they "want it more"? When I ran back in college, I would like to say that if I ran against Haile Gebresellasie in the Marathon (He broke the world record this weekend) I could win if I wanted it more, but we know that's not even close to being true.
But what are Charlotte's advantages? I thought really hard and tried to think about it in terms outside of the creative class argument that people always try to make about cool places. I kept thinking about things like new beginnings and not really having glory days to look back on but when it got down to it the thing that stuck out to me was age group. Why are cities like Charlotte places where younger folks want to locate. I'll admit when I got out of grad school it was Denver, San Francisco, or Austin. But there has to be more than that right? I must not be thinking hard enough.
Everything I seem to come up with is without a backup in data, such as its a younger city in terms of infrastructure. But that doesn't explain cities like San Francisco or Chicago. Is it because banking was thriving and growing and folks moving down from the Northeast wanted to make it more familiar? Maybe that is it. All of these new exciting cities seem to have an influx of people from either California or the Northeast. It's certainly not Nascar thats pulling them towards Charlotte. I still can't bring myself to think that it's because cities don't want it bad enough. Thoughts?