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Not so smart….

When I saw in SFGate.com that San Francisco had been edged out as the “smartest” city in North America, and that the winner was not on the Left Coast, I knew IMMEDIATELY which city had been picked.

No, it could not POSSIBLY be Washington, D.C.! ;-)

And no, not even New York City….

It had to be Boston, MA, and indeed it was! :-)

The study was conducted by Co.Exist, a website dedicated to covering “groundbreaking innovation.” As opposed to those other kinds of innovation, apparently. Author Boyd Cohen, a climate strategist, used data grouped into six areas: smart people, smart economy, smart environment, smart government, smart living and smart mobility to come up with his rankings.

Of course, as Cohen points out, “it helps that Boston is home to more than 70 universities and colleges, eight of which are dedicated research universities with $1.5 billion in annual R&D expenditures.” Including, ahem, Harvard and MIT, which he doesn’t mention by name.  City College of San Francisco has nearly 70 campuses, but I <the article’s author> guess that doesn’t count.

Well, I’ve been to Boston, and, of course I love much of the city. I am a fan of history, of course. I like a bit of that “steeped in tradition” feeling that I get when I visit.

There are THREE things about Boston that would cause me to question just how “smart” the intelligent and educated populace of the city ACTUALLY IS! ;-)

  1. The traffic. When I speak with people familiar with many cities in the U.S., we get down to comparing traffic. Almost everyone I have spoken with agrees that the traffic and drivers in Boston are the worst in the nation. Not that the drivers are unskilled – far from it…! The highly skilled drivers in Boston are like those stock car-racing professionals who can ride 6 inches  (or less! ;-) ) off your bumper and still avoid collisions, MUCH of the time! This behavior is completely unnerving to people who are NOT from Boston, however! :-)
  2. The police. Granted, when my college roommate and I were “hassled” by the police in Boston (no, we were not doing anything wrong, and we were not arrested), the times were quite different. We were college students, and it was around the time that the Vietnam War was winding down. Hopefully, the Boston Police have gotten much better since then. When I visited Boston on business, years later, and again for a job interview, years after that, there were no incidents involving the police. :-)
  3. The climate. OK, if you are really intelligent and well-educated (and perhaps even WEALTHY), why the HECK would you choose to live in a place with electricity rates that are as high as California’s AND which is COLD in the wintertime? ;-) I mean, you have to HEAT in Boston – like BIG TIME! Plus, there are all of these precipitational goodies like: snow, sleet, and freezing rain in Boston. Not to mention Nor’easters and remnants of hurricanes…!  Just how “smart” can these people BE? ;-)

So, what “smart” cities follow number 1 Boston and number 2 San Francisco? The list (in order) is: Seattle, Vancouver, New York, Washington, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Montreal.

-Bill at

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