But there are some metropolitan areas that stand out among the rest. Here are the areas we’re looking forward to watching in 2015.
At the moment, Boston seems to be leading the pack for those gunning to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, a bid that would send the city into a frenzy of infrastructure projects (many of them with innovation in mind).
The greater Boston area is set to boom, too, writes Business Insider: “Tens of thousands of 25- to 34-year-olds, especially from Cambridge’s Harvard and MIT, as well as the 100-plus colleges in nearby Boston, are drawn to Cambridge for the growing biotech industry.”
The area could also lead the way for how cities adapt to a growing population. New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management sketched out a future Beantown. What it found: Self-driving bikes and cars to ease traffic and smaller apartments (think around 160 square feet) to fit more people, BI reports.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh got some buzz earlier this year when it was named the country’s top city for young families.
Forbes says North Carolina’s capital also has the country’s best business climate. And the city was the only American metropolis on Transferwise’s 2015 list for its role in the “North Carolina Research Triangle, one of the most prominent U.S. research parks pioneering in IT and biotechnology.”
The region (known as Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) is anchored by cutting-edge research institutions from surrounding universities, growing high-tech companies like Bandwith and Yealink as well as Fortune 100 companies IBM, Cisco, Sony Ericsson and many more.
The Milken Institute has released updated rankings of America’s “best-performing” cities, “where job growth in emerging sectors–tech, biosciences, digital media, and shale gas–is high. These cities are booming with new construction, new residents, and economic success.”
According to Milken, the area has added some 200,000 jobs in the past eight years. And it also has the 13th-highest concentration of tech GDP, making it ripe to become a bed of innovation.
Boulder’s population of 100,000 may be modest when compared with the 4 million residents who call Silicon Valley home, but in terms of activity per capita, Boulder is becoming a formidable force. USA Today lists Boulder among the top 10 cities for technology start-ups, thanks to its creation of incubators like TechStars and investors like Foundry Group. According to TechStars co-founder Brad Feld, Boulder amassed its 166 start-ups through its “‘give before you get mentality,” which encourages “a powerful long-term dynamic.”
Yes, Detroit. It’d be accurate to say we like underdogs. But we have good reasons.
Sure, the city spent 16 months in bankruptcy, a relatively short stint given the size of Detroit, and the scope of their financial woes (especially relative to other cities that have faced bankruptcy in recent years).
But it recently put a plan in motion to clear approximately three quarters of the city’s overall debt. It’s reviving its arts scene, too, not only by taking its museum out of city control and putting it into a charitable trust, but also by turning empty alleyways into galleries and live performance spaces.
The “motor city” is also becoming a hub for, of all things, bicycle manufacturing, an industry that, believe it or not, is largely outsourced to other countries. Seven such companies have popped up in Detroit in the past year, Forbes reports. One of them hopes to make 50,000 bikes a year alone.
The home of Amazon and Boeing recently saw a 2.8 percent population increase, making it the fastest growing major city in the U.S. — “a sign of a healthy economy drawing talent and the ‘back-to-the-city’ movement,” says The Seattle Times.
The city’s real estate market is set to be one of the hottest in the country in 2015. Almost 13,000 new apartments are coming to the area in 2015, Curbed reports, a housing jigsaw puzzle you’ll want to watch.
But the reasons to keep an eye on the Emerald City aren’t all great. Rents were up 8 percent in Q4 of the year, about four times the rate of inflation, according to Curbed.
[First],to get from the downtown core to the adjacent waterfront, pedestrians have to walk through a gloomy, shaded area beneath the highway, which, because it’s gloomy and shaded, has been given over to parking lots, a waste of precious urban land. This has left the waterfront isolated, a tourist destination rather than an integrated part of city life.
Second, the highway is on the verge of falling down. In 2001, the Nisqually earthquake damaged it, leading to $14.5 million in emergency repairs. Since then, the viaduct has been “settling,” i.e., sinking and cracking.
Officials vowed to shut the thing down. But, here we are in 2014, and it’s still up. A renovation project began in 2011, but was halted recently when a machine … got stuck. Yes, embarrassing. Already, the pavement has sunk an inch. Can Seattle dig itself out (literally)? We’ll find out.
Alicia Liu and Njaimeh Njie reported for this story.