Friday, July 16, 2010

Richardson - Not Enough Ambiance For Some

Richardsonian Romanesque masterpiece

In its July issue, D[allas] Magazine has published its ranking of Dallas suburbs. I know what you're thinking. What does D Magazine, host to the FrontBurner blog, self-described as a "snarky celebration of ignorance," know about Dallas suburbs?

After the jump, let's hear them out.

D Magazine editor Tim Rogers explains that the ratings were computed based on certain objective stats such as crime, education, house values and one very subjective criterion, "ambiance." Again, I know what you're thinking. People who spend most of their time in downtown Dallas should not use the word "ambiance." Rogers says ambiance is "how a place feels. Is the place beautiful? Does it welcome you? Does it offer a variety of experiences both spiritual and commercial?" Again, I know what you're thinking. Beautiful? Spiritual? Frontburner? Is this whole exercise a troll?

R[ichardson] fares only middling well in D's overall ratings, ranking 30th. Garland ranks 45th, so there's that, but still, 30th? Richardson is dragged down by its low ambiance rating, 46th. It's bunched in with other older, close-in suburbs such as Addison, Farmers Branch, Irving and Garland. Apparently, D Magazine editors just don't like how these cities "feel." They are much more satisfied with the ambiance of Southlake, Allen, Trophy Club and Frisco. Why? Rogers suggests an answer in one of his comments on the FrontBurner blog:

"Many people move to North Texas every year. They want guidance on where to live. The average household income of our readers is $328,000. That's our audience. Please don't conflate affluence with elitism."

OK, how about if we conflate people who use the word "conflate" with elitism? And conflate ambiance with affluence?

Reader Enrique De La Fuente took exception to D Magazine's ratings:

"Best 'burb...Richardson. By far the most international 'burb we got. From all the multinational tech companies with offices in Richardson to the numerous places were you can get falafel or pho, schools are good, it has DART for rail fans, it has 75 for auto fans, it has Whole Foods, and it has a Fiesta...a truly cosmopolitan burb."

Now that sounds like someone who knows what he's talking about, someone who has actually visited Richardson. In that one paragraph, there's more value for people moving to the area than in all the numbers and ratings and rankings in D Magazine's entire exercise. Reader Amanda reinforced the worthlessness of such ratings by commenting, in total:

"D was being generous to Richardson."

P.S. That photo above? I know what you're thinking. It's not in Richardson. But it is a Richardsonian Romanesque architectural masterpiece ... in Highland Park (ambiance = 96). Probably owned by a D Magazine subscriber.

No comments: