Monday, October 30, 2006

metrics for innovative cities from CEOs for Cities

So before I get into this.. does anyone want to guess who wrote this:
…the Pittsburgh region’s future depends to such a major extent upon retaining and attracting highly qualified and professional and technical people and business enterprisers, who are in demand everywhere and who command a high standard of residential amenity and cultural and professional opportunities.
I was reminded of this quote when reading the summary slides on a new report CityVitals from CEOs for Cities by Joe Cortright of Impressa Consulting. It’s an interesting set of slides that says there are a bunch new metrics that can be used to measure innovative capacity in cities for the most part. Not having access to the full report I can’t tell you where Pittsburgh ranks in most of these suggested metrics, but the summary slides gives you a few glimpses.

It goes into the obligatory educational attainment benchmarks. Just fyi: There is some sort of error in there. See slide 7 where it gives the educational attainment of the population age 25-34. For example it has Austin at 7.1% achieving a college degree or higher. I say that number is more like 39%. It’s not on the slide but for Pittsburgh the number is 34%. I thought these might be %’s for graduate school attainment, but even that appears to be too low. It’s just mislabeled is all. UPDATE: anonyous commenter explains the error in my interpretation of the slide. See comments for more.

The report does have some new ways of looking at cities and regions. From the summary you can see a few of the ways Pittsburgh shows up as an extreme case. Again, a lot of these are just artifacts of the age demographic for us, but they are still worth thinking about. Slide 13 for example does not mention Pittsburgh, but it has a measure of venture capital collected per 1000 population. At the bottom: Buffalo at literally 0. I assume that is rounded to zero but maybe it really is nothing.

Slide 18. Surprisingly Cleveland and Cincinatti rank 4 and 5 respectively out of 50 MSA’s in terms of voter participation which is the percentage of the voting age population that voted in the November 2004 presidential election.

There is something you don’t normally see on slide 23. Pittsburgh ranks near bottom (48 out of 50) in terms of percentage of population reporting a trip outside of the US. A reflection of our low immigrant flow and older population for sure.

And on slide 28 we rank 49 out of 50 in terms of Ratio of persons that reported attending a cultural event past year to the number of persons who subscribe to cable television. Just a tad elitist? Below us is Nashville? Maybe they do not count the Grand Old Opry? Maybe we have a high proportion of people subscribed to cable TV? I dunno.

POSTSCRIPT - November 1st: See this week's edition of PopCityMedia for more on the CEO of CEO's for Cities.

POSTSCRIPT2 - November 8th: and more: the Nov 8th edition of PopCityMedia goes into more depth on this report.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could the quote be Richard Florida?

There are so many ways to attack the choice of metrics in this survey, but I'd rather attack what the author thinks he's accomplishing - I'm pretty sure Nashville is aware they have less ethnic restaurants that SF. As I scanned the slides, I thought how many different ways is he going to come up with to show SF is the "coolest place on earth" - btw, he missed the "sunshine makes for happier, more productive people" metric. Nothing that useful here to advance understanding of economic development.

Monday, October 30, 2006 4:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto. what value is there in throwing 100 fake metrics at the reader?

Monday, October 30, 2006 8:53:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I admit the question is leading (as in astray)... but the quote is not from RF.

Monday, October 30, 2006 9:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm rather skeptical that Buffalo would rank 47th in "percent of population reporting taking a trip outside the U.S." with 12.3% considering it's a bridge-crossing away from Canada. But perhaps Canada doesn't count as "outside the U.S.".

Monday, October 30, 2006 3:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slide 7 is not the percentage of 25-34 year olds with a four-year degree; it's the percentage of the overall metro population that consists of 25-34 year olds with 4-year college degrees. In other words, how likely are you to swing a dead cat and hit a young, educated, presumably energetic and motivated, individual who is most likely to drive innovation in a region?

Monday, October 30, 2006 4:19:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

ok.. I see that now. but then I question its usefulness to a degree. If I were hiring for a certain education level for example, I would not draw that ball from the entire population. I would care more about what percentage of the target population, be that the labor force, or the young part of the workforce that is most occupationally mobile, more than the population as a whole. but a topic unto itself. I stand corrected and have so annotated the post.

Monday, October 30, 2006 4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you been to Buffalo? I believe it.

Monday, October 30, 2006 5:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, it might not matter to an individual company. But the more educated and young (i.e., energetic, optimistic, ambitious) people a region has, the more likely there is going to be innovation, creativity, risk, etc. As the other anonymous poster put it, have you seen Buffalo?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 3:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

As per Buffalo: The Canadian $ is stronger than it has been in the past. The trips over the border are not worth it any more, as they had been.

Wonder what the figures would have been 5 years ago?

- - -
Who provided the quote?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 4:25:00 PM  

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