Fast Company’s City of the Year is Seattle, Vancouver Also Makes Cut

A few years ago, I wrote a piece for Montreal Tech Watch about Vancouver being a great place to build a startup.  One of the reasons I used to strengthen my point was the fact that our weather and beautiful geography attracted some of the top minds of the world.  And although it wasn’t scientifically or otherwise proven (and I got some interesting comments about my take on things), it seems that I was onto something. Fast Company has just named Seattle their City of the Year 2009 for many reasons, some of them being innovation, eco-friendly initiatives, technological advancements, a positive outlook on things (business conduct), a healthy work-and-life balance, the geography AND the weather.  As one woman–who moved from New Jersey to Seattle to start an online business–says,

the creative people who have transplanted to Seattle have sought out this place for a reason…I think it’s the Mountain. The affectionate term Seattleites use for Mount Rainier, which reaches its zenith 60 miles southeast of the city and is the tallest peak in the Cascades.

In the article, a forward-thinking business attitude and a sense of humility is also emphasized, especially when it comes to the city’s tech scene.

Seattle has become a nexus of computerized creativity, with myriad startups and VC firms funded by some of the 10,000-plus millionaires minted here over the past three decades. “The weather lends itself completely to the lifestyle of a programmer…Seattle has eight months of bad weather and four months of absolutely beautiful weather. It’s the perfect place for software engineers.

Other bright cities to watch for in the future?  Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Malmö, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Taipei, Tucson, and Vancouver all made the list. Did you know we’re getting solar powered trash compactors that will help cut landfill waste up to 80%?

I think this closing statement by the author sums up the point about many cities that offer an ideal living environment–startup city or not– that also help make changes that better the world:

This is a destination, a meeting place, for creative people. There’s something about this area. The weather. The winters. The Mountain. The sense of purpose of those who have settled here. Perhaps all of us who have found this city have, to some degree, aligned our priorities: Innovation is imperative; quality of life is crucial. In Seattle, we have a cornucopia overflowing with both.