After listening to Richard Florida on IT Conversations a few years back, I bought his book The Rise of the Creative Class. Provo gets a mention there as well as a good place for doing business. Florida talks a great deal about what metropolitan areas can do to become magnets for creative people. Forbes is capturing a lot of that in their list; here are the components:
- Colleges - Measure of 4-year colleges in area with extra credit for highly rated schools.
- Cost of Doing Business - Index based on cost of labor, energy, taxes and office space.
- Cost Of Living - Index based on cost of housing, utilities, transportation and other expenditures.
- Crime Rate - Crimes per 100,000 residents.
- Culture & Leisure - Index based on museums, theaters, golf course, sports teams and other activities.
- Educational Attainment - Share of Population over age 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher.
- Income Growth - 5-year annualized figures.
- Job Growth - 5-year annualized figures.
- Net Migration - 5-year annualized figures.
When the legislature works to reduce the over all tax load and says they're doing it in order to attract businesses or the mayor of a city works for a new soccer stadium or cultural center, it's hard to see the connection to those things and economic prosperity. Of course, making a list and reality aren't the same thing.
One thing that stands out to me is that the leaders aren't "the best" or even in the top five in any of the categories, but they all do consistently well in all areas. That's important. It's great to toot your horn and say "our city has the highest number of BS degrees per capita" but what really matters is doing good enough across the board.