Sunday, May 13, 2001

How metros in our region rank

        The Enquirer's Great Cities Test has compared metropolitan Cincinnati with Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Louisville — along with high-growth metros such as Austin, Charlotte, Phoenix and Portland. Our goal in this 10-week series was to see how our region stacks up, and find out what can be done to make it stronger.

        Grades were assigned in each week's category. Today's final scores are a mix of hard data and our own subjective judgments, based on a wide variety of indicators. The final grades:

        • Cincinnati: 7. Cincinnati scores high in many national rankings — for its airport, universities, cityscape, quality of life and other assets. Our region has great potential, but suffers from population and job losses in the hub city, fragmentation, inefficient government and race problems that were underlined by April rioting.

        • Cleveland: 6. Cleveland has more of everything: arts, recreation, population, lakefront, Fortune 500 companies — and more problems. It has high poverty rates, unemployment, industrial blight and public schools on life support.

        • Indianapolis: 6. Indianapolis earned a “9” in governance for its enlightened mayors, unified strategy, merger with Marion County and shrewd economic development. But it scored poorly in public transportation, congestion, crime rates and the drawbacks of being flat and featureless without a major river or lake.

        • Columbus: 5. Columbus is the only major Ohio city that gained population in Census 2000, thanks to annexation. It has vibrant arts, younger civic leaders, advantages as the state capital and a research powerhouse in Ohio State University. But it has low homeownership rates and poor access to transportation with only two interstates. Columbus also lacks the historic charm of Cincinnati.

        • Louisville: 4. Louisville voters last November agreed to merge the city with Jefferson County, but it won't take effect until 2003. Louisville has expanded its convention center and is redeveloping its riverfront. But it still lags in per-capita income, corporate headquarters and high-tech enterprises.

Cincinnati is greater than we think
- How metros in our region rank
Editorial: We need a regional strategy

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