Knowledge Hubs

The Top 25 Future-Ready U.S. Cities

Economists ranked 36 U.S. metropolitan areas on factors including human captital, infrastructure, and commerce to create a list of the cities most poised to grow and thrive in the future.

As we wrote in our December cover story, Globalizing Knowledge, cities are entering a new era of competition, remaking their identities and rebranding themselves around clusters of innovation.

Last September, a group of senior city leaders, education and industrial experts, and innovators met at Harvard University’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Center in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science for the  2015 Summit on Enabling Innovation Economies for the Future.

One of the things that came out of the summit was a model for predicting which U.S. cities were most “future-ready,” based on three primary characteristics:

•The ability to attract people who are engaged in and open to lifelong learning that drives innovation

•Businesses that thrive in collaborative environments

•Infrastructure that provides platforms for people to engage, collaborate, learn, and innovate.

The study is available here. An international index of cities will be released in the near future, its sponsors say.

  1. San Jose 
  2. San Francisco
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Boston
  5. Austin, Texas
  6. Raleigh, North Carolina
  7. Seattle
  8. Denver
  9. Portland, Oregon
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  11. New York, New York
  12. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  13. Houston, Texas
  14. Atlanta, Georgia
  15. Charlotte, North Carolina
  16. San Diego, California
  17. Chicago
  18. Louisville, Kentucky
  19. Salt Lake City, Utah
  20. Des Moines, Iow
  21. Los Angeles
  22. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  23. Kansas City, Missouri
  24. Columbus, Ohio
  25. Philadelphia

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor of Convene.

  • http://joaneisenstodt.com joaneisenstodt

    I’m curious about the ‘infrastructure’ aspect of the study. It appears that what most of us consider ‘infrastructure’ (roads, bridges, water, etc.) is not what this study views. Correct? As a resident of DC (really . .IN DC not a suburb!), our infrastructure .. stinks! Looking at Portland, OR and studies done and an article in The New Yorker, the Oregon coast and Portland are due for a major tsunami in the not too distant future.

    I’ll read the full study to understand more. Perhaps in reporting it, clarification is needed!

    • http://www.pcmaconvene.org Barbara Palmer

      Thanks for the comments and for reading, Joan. I hope you’ll find the full study useful.

  • http://joaneisenstodt.com joaneisenstodt

    Wait.. I read more! And I’m really even more curious about DC! Our population is growing while displacing low(er) income residents. So to say DC ranks high in “human capital” … was discomfiting to this resident! This is one of those studies I fear will be used to market cities w/o a better understanding of the terms and of the conditions of those cities in ‘real’ v. study terms.