You know it’s finally over when Forbes magazine declares your city “the coolest” (or at least, the second coolest). We certainly know it’s been over for San Francisco, who won the ‘coveted’ first-place title of Coolest City in America, for some time now. Of course, Seattle has been battling with its reputation for ‘being cool’ in the eyes of the mainstream media for many years, but this time it feels different…like, final nail in the coffin different. As San Francisco/Bay area native, current Seattle resident, and Stranger employee Kim Selling puts it: “Kill me. Someone set my town on fire.”
According to Forbes, who are good at making gross, reductive, and problematic lists about American communities, there are several data points that go into determining the “cool factor” of a city: a plethora of recreation options (sports, art, nature) and local restaurants, reliable mass transit, and the amount bars and clubs in the city.
For those of you disappointed that we lost out to a bunch of rich, bitcoin dealing assholes who work at start-ups (um, wait, we’re still talking about San Francisco and not Seattle, right?) who spend thousands of dollars every year to dress up in Mad Max raver gear and do designer drugs at Burning Man (Ok, yeah, that’s San Francisco), Seattle at least took home the cool crown in two of those categories: recreational options and, (Good Lord, really?) coffee and craft breweries: “You want to start your day with good coffee and end it with a local beer. Seattle won on this front with 83 coffee shops, coffee roasters & craft beer breweries per 100,000 residents.”
So, is it just a coincidence that the top two “coolest” cities in America are tech-centered and fairly white? Diversity and small business ownership were counted, but the study “over-weighted” two other factors: net migration (defined as the number who moved to the city verses those who left) and youth (“since youth brings vibrancy and new ideas”).
You know what else is COOL, Forbes magazine? Affordable housing. A commitment to fostering the arts on a city and county-wide level. Implementing an income tax so the 1% can help support our failing education system. Lots of things beside microbrews!