Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cities' personalities in USA

San Francisco. Picture from
Image from
A very interesting article from (excerpts)
" The September issue of the American Psychologist includes a pair of studies that examine just how certain character traits vary across urban centers in the United States.
One of these studies was conducted by University of Michigan psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson. While an “urban–rural dichotomy” is often explored in popular culture, the “possibility of variation across cities in the lives of their residents” isn’t studied nearly as often, they write. The work builds off recent observations made by Richard Florida, whose 2008 bestseller Who’s Your City described how the so-called personality of a city indeed reflects the personalities of its residents. As Park and Peterson write:
We root for our local sports teams no matter where we happen to be. We are fond of songs about our own hometowns because they capture who we are. … We carry with us from our place of residence particular feelings, attitudes, norms, values, customs, habits, and lifestyles—city legacies, as it were.
Picture from
Park and Peterson gathered personality information on 47,369 people from the 50 largest U.S. cities through an Internet survey. They then split these traits into two categories: strengths of the head, which include creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, and love of learning, and strengths of the heart, which include gratitude, compassion, teamwork, hope, modesty, religiousness.
The top ten “head” cities were: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Albuquerque, Honolulu, Seattle, Austin, San Diego, New York, and El Paso. The bottom ten were: Arlington (Texas), Oklahoma City, Omaha, Columbus, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach, and Dallas.
Meanwhile the ten strongest “heart” cities included the following:
El Paso, Mesa, Miami, Virginia Beach, Fresno, Jacksonville, Omaha, Phoenix, Long Beach, and Nashville. The bottom ten were: Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Milwaukee, Memphis, Minneapolis, Portland, and Los Angeles.
The second paper was written by Peter Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge, in the U.K. Rentfrow groups personality traits not by city but region (the above graphic, depicting neuroticism, is from his paper). His findings are based on several surveys covering more than three decades of research and reflecting hundreds of thousands of respondents:
Neuroticism: high in the Northeast and Southeast; low in Midwest, West.
Openness: high in New England, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific; comparatively lower in the Great Plains, Midwest, and Southeastern states.
Agreeableness: high in the Southern regions; low in the Northeast.
Extraversion: high in the Northeast; low in the West.
Conscientiousness: high in the Mountain and West North Central; low in the Pacific and West South Central."
READ the full article:
Posted by Eric Jaffe, October 11th 2010

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