Columns » City Sage

How the Springs rates



What is Colorado Springs? More than a mere city, it's a compilation of ratings. We might as well be the subject of Cole Porter's famous little ditty.

"You're the top! You're the Coliseum. You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum."

You could easily list dozens upon dozens of Top 25 ratings the Springs has "earned" in the last 10 years. Here's a sampling — just a few of the ways that we're the top, or sort of/kind of the top, or really, really good.

• No. 1, Money, "Big Cities to Live In"

• No. 1, Outside Magazine, "Best Town"

• No. 1, Forbes, "America's Most Pet-Friendly City"

• No. 1,, "Santa's Top 10 Favorite Cities"

• No. 2, Men's Fitness, "Fittest City in America"

• No. 2, Women's Health, "Best Places to Live for Women"

• No. 2,, "Cities of Conventional Wisdom"

• No. 2, Livability, "Cities for Veterans"

• No. 2,, "Safest City in the United States"

• No. 3, Car and Driver, "Top 10 Best Drivers' Cities"

• No. 3, Men's Fitness, "Top Sports Town"

• No. 3, Earth Day Network, "Best Places to Live"

• No. 5, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, "Great City for Young Adults"

• No. 6, SustainLane, "Top Ten Alternative Fueled City Fleets"

• No. 6, U.S. News & World Report, "Best Weekend Getaway"

• No. 6, Forbes, "America's Most Wired Cities"

• No. 7, American Lung Association, "Cleanest U.S. Cities"

• No. 8, Business Week, "Best Places to Start Over"

• No. 9, Forbes, "America's Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities"

• No. 10, Forbes, "Best Places for Business and Careers"

• Top 10, FOX News, "Least Obese Metro Areas"

• Top 10, U.S. News and World Report, "Green Places to Retire"

• Top 10, Men's Health, "Best Teeth"

• No. 11, The Boyd Company, "Best Places to Build a Data Center"

• No. 11, ERC & Primacy Relocation, "Best Places to Relocate"

• No. 12, Cooking Light Magazine, "America's Healthiest Cities"

• No. 13, The Advocate, "Gayest City"

• No. 15, Portfolio Magazine, "America's Top 25 Smartest Cities"

• No. 15,, "Best City for Families"

• No. 18, Bicycling Magazine, "America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities"

• No. 18, TripAdvisor, Travelers' Choice 2010 "The Best Destinations"

• No. 24, The Daily Beast, "Funniest Cities"

• Top 20, Blue Rhino, "Top Cookout Capitals"

• Top 25, American Style, "Mid-Sized U.S. City Art Destination"

Here's the obvious question: If we're so great, why aren't we all rich? Why are our streets pockmarked, our politicians quarrelsome and ineffective, our jobs undercompensated or unavailable, our cars unreliable, our friends fickle and our children ill-behaved?

Clearly, the ratings are nonsensical. What we're seeing are the outward manifestations of an interesting cottage industry. In the age of big data, you can rate any phenomenon, any characteristic, any category. We're in the world predicted by Lewis Carroll.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax,

Of cabbages, and kings,

And why the sea is boiling hot,

And whether pigs have wings."

Ten best cities for shoes, ships, walruses, cabbages, kings! All click bait, all of use to someone. And here are more.

• No. 1, Potholes Per Capita

• No. 1, Oldest City Councils

• No. 1, Republican-Dominated Cities Where Marijuana is Legal

• No. 1, Source of Facebook Cat Videos

• No. 4, Most Natural Disasters, 2012-2015

And how do I know this stuff? I just do. It's a complex algorithm that I can't share.

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