Last week, I highlighted many of the things going on in Kansas City. In order for Kansas City, MO to fix a lot of its problems, it's going to need some money and dedications from the city administrators and the private sector. However, in order to get money, it's going to need to fix some of the problems. If no one wants to live here, we're never going to increase tax revenue. I highlighted two major needs for the city -- attracting new people to the city, and improving the conditions of the poor in KC.
For the next two days I'm going to talk about attracting new people to KCMO - -and what we, as a community, can do to make that happen.
First off, let me say that I think attracting new people to the city is vitally important. New people -- people who have options of where to live -- bring in incremental tax revenue. They can fill empty and abandoned homes and neighborhoods. Most are well-educated and skilled -- and an attractive workforce when trying to attract new businesses to the city.
So to discuss what we need to do to attract these folks (which I'll do tomorrow) -- let's first discuss what it is these people look for in a place to live. This is very subjective. Not everyone looks for the same thing when it comes to choosing a place to live. However, I think there are some overall things that people look at when choosing a place to live. I'm going to start with the criteria for Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live judging criteria, and tailor them just slightly. This at least provides a little objectivity to the criteria. So here are the criteria used in the Money list and some thoughts about each. Tomorrow, we'll talk about how to improve these (and some suggestions on who should be responsible). If we could improve all of these areas, there is no doubt that KCMO would be the crown jewel of the metro - and a very desirable place to live. Which is great for all of us.
1) Financial - Are there good jobs available? Are taxes affordable? Is there job growth?
2) Housing -- Are homes affordable? And are they the types of homes I want to live in?
3) Education - Availability of Universities for higher education. Secondary educational system. High test scores for students.
4) Quality of Life-- Low crime, short commute times. Money also puts Air quality in here...
5) Culture/Leisure - Movie theaters, bars, restaurants, Libraries, Museums
6) Weather --- I'm going to skip this one tomorrow -- because let's face it, it is what it is. And if you don't like it, wait 'till tomorrow when it changes.
7) Health -- They defined this using stats like Hypertension rates, diabetis rates, and BMI -- however, I want to redefine this a bit. Are there opportunities for people to be healthy and live active lifestyles. This will include quality parks, good running trails, biking trails, bike routes on public streets and overall neighborhood walkability
8) Meet the neighbors - Money has a buch of dorky criteria on this one. I'm going to redefine this as quality neighborhoods. Are they interesting? Are the neighborhood associations active in neighborhood improvements? Is it easy to meet people? That sort of thing.
I'll talk about these tomorrow in detail.