Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The best - and strangest - in urban catch phrases
It might be hard to quantify the value of an official city slogan. But every year, cities and towns decide to update theirs in an effort to improve business and tourism. Some cities have generic ones (San Diego: "America's Finest City"), some get specific (Blakely, Georgia: "Peanut Capital of the World") and some get quirky (Yuma: "Experience Our Sense of Yuma." No longer official, sadly).
Here's a brief sampling of the new slogans we found from this year:
BALTIMORE, MD "A Great Place to Grow"
A simple, likable slogan that suggests Baltimore is a place not only to raise a family or get an education but also a place to launch a business. Above all, it has far more self-awareness than former slogans "Baltimore is Best" and "The City That Reads."
BUFFALO, NY "Buffalo. For Real."
Perhaps it's an answer to the frequently asked "Really?! Buffalo?" Or maybe it's just reiterating the belief among boosters that the city's current aesthetic is a sign of authenticity instead of decline. Regardless of meaning, Advertising Age thinks it's pretty bad.
BURTON, MI "Burton: Small Town, Big Heart.”
It might not be the most avant garde of slogans but at least it was better than another submission “Burton, We’re not Burtucky We’re just kind of yucky.”
CHICAGO, IL "Second to None"
A confident rejection of the famous "Second City" mantle that Chicago has long been known for. Its last official slogan was "Make No Little Plans," a reference to a quote from famous early 20th century architect, Daniel Burnham. Aurora, Colorado, has been calling itself "A City Second to None" since 2005, and the town's mayor is flattered by the imitation.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO "Live it Up!"
Known for its high quality of life and natural amenities, this slogan certainly seems appropriate. But some locals dislike its simplicity and $111,000 price tag.
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS, NV "Every City Has a Soul"
Las Vegas already has its own slogan, but now they've also coined one specifically for their downtown. While "Every City Has a Soul" is true, it doesn't say much about downtown Vegas. Perhaps it's in reference to the replicas of famous buildings from other cities that give downtown Vegas its unique charm.
MODESTO, CA "Modesto. Family Owned and Operated"
Modesto previously had no official slogan. This one makes the city of 200,000 feel even smaller with its humble, small town rhetoric.
NEW ULM, MN "Come See What's Brewing."
For a friendly town with a deeply rich German heritage, it'd be a shame to not have a slogan like this.
SUMTER, SC "Uncommonly Patriotic"
Being the namesake of a hero of the American Revolution, Thomas Sumter, can be seen as patriotic. Apparently, serving as a key logistical hub for the Confederacy makes you uncommonly patriotic.
UTICA, NY "Renaissance City"
Formerly known as the "Pent-Up City" and "The Handshake City," Utica is taking a more generic approach to its brand this time around. When asked about the new slogan, Mayor Roefaro said "Renaissance is like a rebirth." While his French is strong, it might be a stretch to apply that word to contemporary Utica.
SEATTLE, WA "metronatural"
A slogan that will apparently no longer be with us in 2012 is Seattle's "metronatural." After a five year run, local disdain (some suggesting it sounds more like an urban nudist colony) has led the Convention and Visitors bureau to revisit the phrase.
UNDETERMINED NEW SLOGANS
MORROW, GA TBD
Morrow is working with a PR firm to create a new slogan. The criteria is pretty simple. According to the head of the town's Business and Tourism Association, they want people to "know this place is not Godforsaken."
Lede image courtesy woosh2007 via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.