Food, shelter and clothing – our three basic needs. Notice however, how food comes first, but it’s rarely even on the list when it comes to building cities that attract people, or even specifically, the creative, entrepreneurial population that spurs job growth.
This graph, from CEOs for Cities’ City Vitals: New Measures of Success for Cities (full report for members here), is just a hint of innovative insight into understanding how food can, and should, play a much larger role in economic development. Notice how the top five cities have very little to do with the bottom five (of the 50 largest cities in the U.S.) in terms of jobs, popularity and culture, and yes, it’s not fair that the top five are all on the coast. However, this just shows how much harder central and smaller cities need to focus on fostering an environment where entrepreneurs are encouraged to open a more worldly diversity of restaurants, which in turn, attracts a more talented population as far as jobs go.
Besides, fast food just isn’t cool, at least not to artists like REM, who will do anything they can to help the local independents thrive in their home town of Athens, GA, or to a growing consciousness know as the slow food movement, spawning an international slow city campaign focusing on quality of life over ‘homogenization’.