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Thread: Most Normal/Average City

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Most Normal/Average City

    I have a good friend who is from just outside Peoria, Illinois who says that Peoria has historically been known as "America's Test Market" for new products, ad campaigns, theater productions, etc. because it was thought to have been the most "normal" or "average" American city.

    My question to teh Throbbing Brain: what is the most "normal" or "average" city for your country (especially the U.S., but I'd like non-U.S. Cyburbians to participate as well), encompassing how well they reflect the national averages or national norms in every category, equally weighted, including but not limited to:
    • local economics/business climate
    • political persuasions/divisions
    • cultural convergence (trends, low and high culture)
    • demographic makeup
    • cost of living
    • built environment
    • level of public safety/crime
    • weather

    Statistically finding the one closest to the aggregate median of things like cost of living and demographics would be easy, if time-consuming, hence the added qualitative categories like cultural convergence, built environment, and any other similar issues you all come up with.

    Note: Please do not include separately incorporated suburban communities, as they are often bland anyways. Instead, consider a central city and it's metro area together.

    Also, no polls. Sorry. I want to hear people's arguments on why they believe their pick is the one.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 15 Jul 2011 at 4:54 PM.

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Muncie, Indiana

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middletown_studies

    "Middletown" means the average or typical American small city. There are places actually named Middletown in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and elsewhere, but the Lynds were interested in the ideal American type. They dealt anonymously with the actual city of Muncie and its people.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Grand Rapids or any other City that David Letterman used as the home office?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Definitely high scores (in terms of being close to the average) in in public safety and weather. Low scores in economics and cost of living.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Grand Rapids or any other City that David Letterman used as the home office?
    High scores in politics, cultural convergence, built environment. Low scores in weather, cost of living, demographics.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    According to my wife, Springfield, (wait for it . . . . ) Missouri (. . . Oh, THAT one) is often used to test new products, as it has many of the characteristics you have mentioned. From my experience there, I would agree.

    I'll nod my head in approval to Muncie, Indiana as well.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Just my opinion, but I think the Kansas City area is the most American of metropolitan areas.

    As far as most average city; I think it lies in one of the "boring" fourth or fifth tier metropolitan areas. My candidates:

    Dayton, Ohio
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Indianapolia, Indiana
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Syracuse, New York

    FIGHT!
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus
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    "Will it play in Peoria ?"
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    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Just my opinion, but I think the Kansas City area is the most American of metropolitan areas.

    As far as most average city; I think it lies in one of the "boring" fourth or fifth tier metropolitan areas. My candidates:

    Dayton, Ohio
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Indianapolia, Indiana
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Syracuse, New York

    FIGHT!
    How do you define boring?

    Muncie is no longer an "average" city. However, it does reflect the midwest. It's a small post industrial city that has the advantage of having a small to mid size public university which now serves as the major employer. It's kinda run down, but there are other midwestern cities in far worse condition.
    Last edited by Whose Yur Planner; 18 Jul 2011 at 10:54 AM.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Just my opinion, but I think the Kansas City area is the most American of metropolitan areas.
    I agree but it's hard to say exactly why. I'm probably a little biased too since I live here now but as far as "Normal" vs. "American", I suppose some clarification between the two is needed. I think I would interpret "normal" as if we could measure an all encompassing "Mean" of cities in America, whereas "American" cities have a greater display of specifically American characteristics (love of baseball, etc.). I think KC would rank pretty highly in both of these classifications...

    -Being very close to the geographic center of the contiguous US helps...
    -It's a fairly large city, but there are still many "small town" elements
    -I imagine the cost of living is pretty close to the average (way below chicago, NY, or LA but more than small towns)
    -The gap of incomes are not extreme, but certainly prevalent (you've got your East Kansas City, and on the other hand you've got Overland Park)
    -The general political culture is pretty divided. For one the divide between Kansas and Missouri, as well as the divide between several counties make for some cut-throat politics. Also, I think the majority of people here are on the more conservative, pro business, low taxes side of the spectrum but again, the left v. right debate here is much more even than I thought it would be before moving here.

    -And... the crossroads of course. It's a great neighborhood and I think it's famous title describes KC very well, it has a little bit of everything.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    For a larger City, I could see KC being a candidate. Indy, as well. I have been to Peoria many times and can see how it could be considered "average", although changing times might make it less so than it once was. If it had a bit higher hispanic population and were located a bit further south and west it would be closer to the current average.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Omaha has to be up there.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Des Moines - Lock Thread.

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