Friday, August 13, 2010

What I Learned About Richardson In Wikipedia

Things I learned about Richardson, Texas, from reading Wikipedia:

  • In 2004, Richardson was the first North Texas city recognized as a best workplace for commuters.
  • In 2007, Richardson ranked as the 5th safest city in Texas and the 69th safest city in America.
  • In 2008, Richardson ranked as the 4th best place to live in Texas and the 18th best place to live in the United States.
  • In 2009, Richardson ranked as the 2nd best city in Texas to raise kids.
  • In 2010, Richardson ranked 1st among Texas cities in the truthfulness of its Wikipedia page.

OK, I admit that one of those facts does not (yet) appear on Richardson's Wikipedia page. After the jump, other things that do.

The superlatives are nice, but the numbers do an inadequate job of revealing what daily life is like in Richardson. Richardson may be a suburb of Dallas and a part of the nation's fourth largest metropolitan area (look it up on Wikipedia), but "R Town" retains a small town feel. In the Wikipedia article's section on "Recent History," there is this item, written I guess with no intent at jest:

"Richardson received local media attention for removing its Rocket Slide and other Space Age and Cold War Era playground equipment from Heights Park in July 2008."

According to Wikipedia, the fictional town of Arlen, Texas, that serves as the setting for the long-running animated television series, "King of the Hill", was modeled after Richardson. One "King of the Hill" reviewer describes the fictional Hank Hill in a way that's probably not far off the mark in describing many Richardson residents: "a realistic redneck: worshipful of tradition, fearful of variety and progress, but not really quite as conservative as he thinks he is."

In fact, Richardson is a lot more dynamic than its fictional television image would suggest:

"The city is no longer the bedroom community of the 1950s and 1960s, but is itself home to a significant employment center, the Telecom Corridor, where more than 80,000 people work each day. The city is currently experiencing a second major growth period with wide spread New Urbanism development and revitalization."

Richardson is a study in contrasts. Just like Wikipedia articles themselves, Richardson is a patchwork built from many contributors over many years. What one sees when looking at Richardson says more about the viewer than it says about Richardson. At least, that's what I took away from the "R Town" article in Wikipedia. You could look it up yourself.

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