Thursday, March 17, 2005

Houston officially a "world class city"

While browsing the Wikipedia entry on Houston, I came across this intriguing statement:
Houston is considered a "Gamma World City" by the GaWC.

Well, it turns out a UK university actually attempted to rank "world class cities", generating a map and a report (search on the word "Houston" for a quick browse). The good news is, we made it. We're now officially a world class city. Everybody can stop worrying about it now. Amazingly, this ranking report came out in 1999, well before we had light rail or three new stadiums.

The bad news is, we're only in their third tier of world cities, which they call Gamma. So now we can all worry about making it to Beta or even Alpha class world city (you know, as in "alpha male" - we get to dominate and push around the littler cities).

In my own biased and subjective judgment, San Francisco has dropped and we have moved up since '99, so I'd think we might make Beta if they did it today. And, if you look at the Wikipedia criteria, I think we're on a long-term trendline to match Chicago, which would put us in the Alpha tier. The one incredibly elitist and laughable criteria that I could see people using to trip us up is

A unique cultural air and sophistication produced by its inhabitants.

OK folks, to move up the rankings, we all need to try a little harder. Remember: please hold your noses up at slightly higher angles, be disdainful towards anybody not in your 'intellectual class', always order wine instead of beer, no eye contact on the street, and never, ever smile for strangers. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


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