Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
The state offers a lesson for how smaller cities and metros can still compete in the globalized marketplace
Over the last couple of weeks, I've written about cities with the most hit singles and sports championships. Not surprisingly, greater New York leads in absolute numbers on both.
But what's a whole lot more surprising Is how well Wisconsin, particularly small Wisconsin cities, do. Green Bay leads by a large margin in the number of sports championships per capita. And even tinier Eau Claire leads on Pitchfork singles per capita with Madison close behind in third.
Several reasons come to mind for such stellar performance. Wisconsin had long been an open-minded, progressive state. It has invested in a remarkably good public university system: while its main campus is in Madison both Eau Claire and Green Bay have their own campuses. All three major metro areas are also part of the Chicago-Pittsburgh mega-region, the third largest in the world.
It's true that large, dense cities have advantages in our ever-more unequal and spiky world. But these three Wisconsin metros show that smaller places can leverage their assets and more than play the game.