Austin Is the Place To Be

Austin Aglow by Andy (atmtx photography)

More and more these days, I keep hearing about Austin, Texas. Before this year, I didn’t know very much about the small capitol of the Lone Star State. However, Austin seems to be climbing in status and stature in the US. Many major companies and international events call, or are starting to call, Austin home.

The big event going on in Austin right now is South By Southwest 2012 on from March 9-18. South By Southwest, or simply known as SXSW 2012, is the largest confluence of music, film, and interactive industries in the United States. There is no festival quite like SXSW. For the past month leading up to SXSW 2012, I’ve seen all sorts of ads on websites asking you to visit their booth at SXSW.

Austin ranks high on Richard Florida’s Creative Cities list. Austin is home to the University of Texas in Austin. This attracts money for research, innovation, and new companies. Austin ranks high on factors that attract people who belong to the Creative Class. It’s become a high tech hub of innovation in Texas. Software companies, like Trilogy, promote fun, creativeness, and individuality. All this attracts people who belong to the Creative Class into Austin.

In an article by Richard Florida in the Washington Monthly, he talks to a young man from Pittsburgh who decides to move to Austin to join Trilogy.

I asked the young man with the spiked hair why he was going to a smaller city in the middle of Texas, a place with a small airport and no professional sports teams, without a major symphony, ballet, opera, or art museum comparable to Pittsburgh’s. The company is excellent, he told me. There are also terrific people and the work is challenging. But the clincher, he said, is that, “It’s in Austin!” There are lots of young people, he went on to explain, and a tremendous amount to do: a thriving music scene, ethnic and cultural diversity, fabulous outdoor recreation, and great nightlife.

Austin is also the home of the giant organic supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market. So that helps to set Austin high up on the sustainability charts. Whole Foods has extended their food empire with stores in the US, Canada, and UK.

Large Cities Creativity Rankings

Rankings of 49 metro areas reporting populations over 1 million in the 2000 Census

Top Ten Cities

City Creativity Index %Creative Workers Creative Rank High-Tech Rank Innovation Rank Diversity Rank
San Francisco 1057 34.8 5 1 2 1
Austin 1028 36.4 4 11 3 16
San Diego 1015 32.1 15 12 7 3
Boston 1015 38.0 3 2 6 22
Seattle 1008 32.7 9 3 12 8
Chapel Hill 996 38.2 2 14 4 28
Houston 980 32.5 10 16 16 10
Washington 964 38.4 1 5 30 12
New York 962 32.3 12 13 24 14
Dallas 960 30.2 23 6 17 9
Minneapolis 960 33.9 7 21 5 29

The other event that makes me think of Austin is the new F1 US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas just outside of Austin. Formula 1 auto racing has been absent from the United States for many years now. But come this November, Formula 1 will once again be on American soil. The circuit is still being constructed, but the Formula 1 world and Austin must be getting revved up for the inaugural event.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX

So before this year, I didn’t really know much about the Texas capitol. But it’s obviously a smaller city with an up and coming future. It is one of the places to be in the US now. I’ll see if I ever get a chance to visit Austin in the future. Maybe I’ll even attend of the big events. We’ll see.

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