List-centric website Livability.com has rated Tempe as one of the top 10 college towns in the country for 2014 based on employment and recreational opportunities.
No one would mistake the site for a peer-reviewed scientific journal -- it's owned by moving-van companies, and it began its survey by breaking college towns down by their Football Bowl Subdivision. The site looked at housing affordability, "high walkability," whether college grads would be inclined to stick around after obtaining their degrees, entertainment and other factors.
Tempe came out No. 5.
Here's the entire list, as sent to New Times by Matt Carmichael, the site's editor:
1. Ames, Iowa 2. Logan, Utah 3. Oxford, Ohio 4. Fayetteville, Arkansas 5. Tempe 6. Charlottesville, Virginia 7. Champaign, Illinois 8. Moscow, Idaho 9. South Bend, Indiana 10. Hattiesburg, Mississippi
This is the fifth year the site has put together the list.
The first thing we noticed is that Tempe should have done even better: Logan, Utah -- No. 2? Really?
Carmichael and his fellow data-crunchers wanted to create a list of towns that "share a synergy with the college that influences the entire community."
Tempe residents enjoy a solid mix of urban life and "college-town atmosphere," while the college provides thousands of local jobs, the site says, adding that, "Downtown Tempe bustles with activity and an abundance of shops, restaurants and galleries."
Our recent article about the high level of development going on downtown these days noted that things are about to get even bustle-ier. While the main campus of Tempe already supports about as many students as the population of Ames, Iowa or Logan, Utah, a massive State Farm development on the south bank of Tempe Town Lake will itself bring 8,000 or more employees to the area. A new, 1 million-square-foot business park is going up at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive. Apartment units are sprouting up around the city like weeds. Meanwhile, ASU President Michael Crow keeps adding new development and renovations to the campus like it's the 1980s again.
Tempe ought to be passing places like Fayetteville, Arkansas, any year now.
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