On Zipcar’s Future Metropolis Index

ZipCar commissioned some research on the future of American cities as thriving economic engines. Zipcar’s capitalizing on the fractional ownership concept. That’s forward thinking. That’s cool. So I thought this would be interesting research.

It’s not.

Here’s the first half of the list, the rest is after the fold.

What’s wrong?

Really bizarre metrics.  It tested innovation (free wifi spots + degree granting institutions), sustainability (hybrids + bike lanes), creativity (parks, art jobs/businesses), efficiency (public transportation), livability (unemployment crime).

Totally ignored HUGE trends and indicators that matter:

  1. Unrest potential. For example, El Paso is ranked #1 for livability “due to its lowest homicide rate and second lowest burglary rate.” Assumes no spillover violence from Mexico.
  2. Foreclosures tear holes in social fabric. Not checking for this is like declaring a patient healthy without checking for cancer.
  3. Nature of industry. Could have checked for the number of people who report as self employeed/consultants/etc. (Instead, they used wifi hotspots and degree granting institutions.)
  4. Production. Creativity was measured by park land area. What? Urban gardens would be a much better metric. Solar energy production capacity. These constitute real sustainability, not bike lanes and hybrid cars.

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