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Though the weather hasn’t caught up…it is fall y’all. Stumbled across this list of fun things to do in central Texas this fall – check a few off the list.

We may not have hit the cooler temperatures that traditionally come with fall, but that shouldn’t stop you from all of the fun things there are to do here in Austin!!

Here are 25 Things to Do in Central Texas this Fall (2013)

Austin Museum Day – September 22 – The Austin Museum Partnership hosts a day of free admission to over 40 participating institutions. Check out the details here.

Barton Hills Farm – Saturdays & Sundays September 28 – November 10 We went last year to this amazing farm and enjoyed racing through the HUGE corn maze, playing lawn games, and listening to live music.

Take a Train Ride – Weekends – From the miniature ones on the Cedar Rock Railroad, Zilker Zephyr, Austin Zoo, or ride the real thing with the Austin Steam Train Association.

Les Miserables at ZACH Theatre – September 25 – November 3 – Yes, the movie was good, but not as good as seeing & hearing Do You Hear the People Sing? live. Click here for tickets.

Breakfast at the Movies – Saturdays & Sundays – Flix Brewhouse up in Round Rock offers a breakfast menu for the first few movies of the day – what a fun way to start – PJs, Pancakes, and a fun flick!

Old Pecan Street Festival – September 28 & 29 – Head on out to the largest arts & crafts festival in Central Texas. Free admission, festival includes vendors, music, food, & fun.

Spend an evening out in Walburg – Weekends – Have some schnitzel with your Spaten by celebrating Oktoberfest at Walburg’s gorgeous Biergarten. They have some pretty great music too.

Sound & Cinema at the Long Center – October 2 – The last Sound & Cinema of the season is going to be totally tubular with an 80’s party featuring Top Gun Sing & Quote-along.

Round Rock Chalk Walk – October 4 & 5 – The streets of downtown Round Rock are turned into an Italian street painting festival where everyone is encouraged to create a chalk drawing for free. Other activities, live music and food are offered at this annual event as well.

Sweetberry Farm – Daily except Wednesdays – One of our favorite Central Texas Farms, Sweetberry features pumpkins, corn mazes, farm animals, rides, flower-picking, and more.

Oktoberfest in Fredricksburg – October 4 – 6 – Chicken Dance down Main Street at Oktoberfest – Tons of family activities and lots of great food.

Boo at the Zoo – October 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, & 26 – The Austin Zoo’s annual fundraiser features a unique way to see the animals – at night. They also have a haunted train ride that is way fun!

“Superheroes” with the Austin Symphony – October 18 – What could be better than iconic pop music from your favorite superhero film & tv shows?? Hearing it live!

Lake Travis Zipline Adventures – Daily – Fall is the perfect time to enjoy Texas’ longest zip lines over the beautiful Lake Travis. The hike is scenic (and at times hard), but the hosts are funny and the views are amazing. Click here to learn more.

Texas Book Festival – October 26 & 27 A FREE family fun event featuring literary sessions, book signings, music, crafts, and more on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

New Braunfels’ WurstFest – November 1 – 10 – Enjoy the best sausage in Texas at this year’s WurstFest in New Braunfels, TX Fun for all ages!

Race at K1 Speed – Daily – Getting ready for Formula One in November? Test your ability to race at K1 Speed, Austin’s premier indoor karting experience.

Touch-A-Truck – November 2 – Bring the kids to see and “touch” over 30 different vehicles including fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. This annual event is held at Gorgeous Mille and benefits the Austin Children’s Shelter.

Austin Celtic Festival – November 2 & 3- Join this 18th annual festival for food, dance, sports, music and more!

Austin Insect Rodeo – November 9 – The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum hosts an insect rodeo – yep, just like it sounds. And don’t forget, on the first Saturday of each month, they have FREE admission between 2-6 p.m.

iFly Austin – Daily – There is no better time to learn how to fly….feel the sensation of jumping out of an airplane, without the fear of jumping out of an airplane. Serious fun – here’s my experience.

Austin Chocolate Festival – November 16 & 17 – A festival completely dedicated to chocolate? Say no more! This event helps raise awareness & money for Multiple Sclerosis and Breast Cancer and features competitions and vendors.

Homeslices’s Carnival O’ Pizza – November 16 – In honor of Homeslice’s birthday, this carnival is full of games, pizza-dough slinging contests, pizza eating contests, and lots of fun – all benefitting the Austin Bat Cave (a free writing program for kids).

Thundercloud Sub’s Turkey Trot – November 28 – Benefitting the Caritas of Austin, what better way to burn off that turkey and spend time with family than a fun run?? Click here to register.

Enjoy Austin in the Fall! – Daily – Now that the weather has cooled down a bit, take advantage of all the great outdoor fun we have – Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
•Climb to the top of Mt. Bonnell
•Enjoy a day at Zilker Park- Austin Nature & Science Center, ride the Zilker Zephyer, canoe around Town Lake
•Take a leisurely walk around the grounds of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
•Learn how to Geocache
•Do a Hill Country day trip out to Inks Lake State Park or Enchanted Rock
•Go back in time with an afternoon spent at Pioneer Farms
•Or go wayyyy back to the Prehistoric times at Dinosaur Park

Happy Fall Y’all!

Original article by Rebecca Darling
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Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

 

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145 acres of untouched land in West Austin has hit the market

 

One of the last large undeveloped tracts on Shepherd Mountain overlooking Lake Austin is being marketed nationwide — the first time the property has been for sale in 26 years.

The exclusive listing for the 145 acres, which are being billed as an unprecedented offering of pristine land in West Austin. Perched on a bluff near the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360 and Courtyard Drive, the prime property with breathtaking views has been coveted for years by many a developer. But the answer from the owner has been the same time after time for the last two decades: the land isn’t for sale.

Until now.

A preliminary plat is in place for 70 residential lots, The site is near “high-end residential neighborhoods and and home to executive decision makers, upper level managers, and allows easy access to major Austin thoroughfares,” it states.

“There are significant barriers to entry for development in West Austin, with land use restrictions in place along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and RR 2222 to preserve the environment and Hill Country terrain. Much of the land is permanently preserved, including the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Wild Basin Preserve and the Bull Creek Watershed.”

Most of the land is in the Lake Austin watershed, with a small portion in the Coldwater Creek watershed, according to the offering.

Orginal article by: By Shonda Novak

American-Statesman Staff

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Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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2112 Indian TrailReduced to $650,000

Open Sunday, August 31 from 2:00-4:00 PM

and Saturday, September 31st from 1:00-3:00 PM

Charming, updated 3 bedroom Tarrytown home located on a fantastic street. Flexible floorplan, 2nd living area/ den, spacious back patio & yard for entertaining. Open kitchen, gas 5 top burner, Marble countertops, breakfast bar, Stainless Steel appliances included. Beautiful hardwood floors throughout. Separate laundry room. Plantation shutters. Spacious bedrooms, walk-in closet in master with built-in dresser.

Click here to see virtual tour

 

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1920 W 40th Street- Reduced to $525,000

Open Saturday, August 31st from 1:00-4:00 PM

and Sunday, September 1st from 1:00-4:00 PM

Highly coveted Oakmont Heights home with original charm and expanded for today’s homeowner. Original, refinished hardwood floors. Master suite added with en suite bath and three large walk-in closets. Private back yard with mature landscaping & space for a raised vegetable garden. Formal dining room could serve as a playroom if need be.

Click here to watch the virtual tour

 

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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According to recent findings from the National Federation of Independent Business, small business growth is up and business owners are more optimistic about the economy. Because most small business owners open a business near their home, we would expect major U.S. cities to see their fair share of new businesses. NerdWallet Taxes examined the top 20 biggest U.S. cities to find out how welcoming they are to small businesses. We calculated total scores for each city using data on local taxes, growth rates from the Milken Institute’s 2012 Best Performing City survey, and business owner opinions of the local regulatory environment from the 2013 Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey. Four of the top 10 cities are located in tax friendly Texas, while New York City and San Francisco do not make the cut.

1. Austin, TX Tech giants Dell and IBM make their home here, but Austin proves equally friendly to small businesses. The city scores highly thanks to no state or local personal income taxes and its 2nd place rank in the Milken Institute’s 2012 Best Performing Cities for favorable growth prospects in technology, real wages and jobs. Austin also scored 2nd for its hassle-free business licensing requirements, according to data from Thumbtack’s 2013 Small Business Friendliness Survey.

Local income tax: 0% (sample median: 0%) City property tax: 1.24% (sample median: 1.35%) Growth rate rank: 2 License friendliness rank: 2

2. San Antonio, TX Home to big companies like Clear Channel and Valero, San Antonio earns the second spot in our list because it has the highest ranking for friendly licensing requirements, where on average small business owners say that the city’s regulatory environment is “somewhat friendly.” San Antonio also scores in the top 10 for its growth prospects.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.36% Growth rate rank: 6 License friendliness rank: 1

3. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Dallas is home to over a dozen Fortune 500 companies and like other Texas cities, it is very welcoming to small businesses, scoring in the top 5 for ease of licensing requirements and growth prospects. While it did not score highly for property taxes, Dallas is still a very attractive city for small business.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.38% Growth rate rank: 5 License friendliness rank: 5

4. Baltimore, MD One of only three East coast cities to make our list, Baltimore earned a top 10 spot because it ranked 3rd for its hassle free licensing requirements. One downside is that Baltimore levies personal income taxes between 1.25 and 3.2% and scores poorly because of relatively high property taxes.

Local income tax: 3.2% City property tax: 2.27% Growth rate rank: 7 License friendliness rank: 3

5. Houston, TX Houston ranks fifth thanks to a very friendly overall tax environment. It had the third lowest city property tax rates at 1.15% and ranked third for growth prospects.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.15% Growth rate rank: 3 License friendliness rank: 11

6. San Jose, CA The only California city to make our list, San Jose earned the no. 1 spot in America in Milken’s growth ratings, largely thanks to an influx of Silicon Valley technology companies and educated labor force. The city also scored in the top 10 for low-hassle licensing requirements.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.27% Growth rate rank: 1 License friendliness rank: 7

7. Charlotte, NC While North Carolina isn’t known for its friendly income tax code, Charlotte did score highly for low unemployment tax rates and scored in the top 10 for property taxes, long-term growth prospects and non-burdensome licensing requirements.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.28% Growth rate rank: 8 License friendliness rank: 10

8. Indianapolis, IN While not as tax friendly as Texas cities, Indianapolis scored 6th for easy licensing requirements and 10th for future growth rates. Indianapolis ranked poorly for property taxes and also levies an income tax of 1.62%.

Local income tax: 1.62% City property tax: 3.35% Growth rate rank: 10 License friendliness rank: 6

9. Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville scores in our top ten largely thanks to its presence in Florida, a state with zero personal income taxes and relatively low payroll taxes. Jacksonville earned 4th place for its easy licensing requirements but scores lower for growth prospects (15th) and property taxes (12th).

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.80% Growth rate rank: 15 License friendliness rank: 4

10. Phoenix, AZ Phoenix earned 10th place mainly because of Arizona’s tax friendly environment: the state scores 3rd for lowest income tax rates and 2nd for lowest payroll taxes. Phoenix scores 8th overall for property taxes and 9th for ease of licensing requirements.

Local income tax: 0% City property tax: 1.30% Growth rate rank: 16 License friendliness rank: 9

Where are San Francisco and New York City? New York and San Francisco perform poorly in the overall rankings (12th and 14th respectively) for small businesses. For a business earning $100,000 a year in profits, New York City is the worst city from a tax standpoint. New York also scores poorly (12th) from a licensing standpoint. On the bright side, its attractive job growth rates and large workforce appeal to small businesses for ease of hiring, as it earned 11th place in the Milken study among all U.S. cities.

San Francisco did not make the list because of its difficult licensing requirements and California’s high income and payroll taxes. Nonetheless, San Francisco appeals to many small businesses because of its diverse and educated workforce, favorable growth prospects and established network of high-tech companies.

Methodology: To calculate each city’s total score, we assigned weightings to the following variables: state income taxes (5%), city income taxes (10%), payroll taxes (25%), city property taxes (10%), city growth rate rankings (20%) from Milken Institute’s 2012 Best Performing City survey, and ease of licensing requirements (30%) from the 2013 Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey. Licensing requirements were coded from 1-5, where lower scores indicate friendlier requirements. To determine effective state and local taxes, we assumed the business owner files taxes jointly as married, earns $100,000 in annual profits, owns a $500,000 commercial property, maintains a $50,000 payroll with 1 employee and qualifies as a new employer for state unemployment insurance tax purposes. Memphis was excluded because of data availability. Dallas and Fort-Worth have been combined in accordance with the Thumbtack survey.

Read the full Report from NerdWallet here

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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Use the scanner on your phone to download my mobile friendly user App.  Add the agent code once downloaded. Agent Code: KW2NPLHXO

Features of my new app:

  • The ability to search for homes based on criteria or by custom drawing on an interactive map;
  • GPS localized data displays homes in a given area that match the consumer’s price range;
  • The ability to easily swipe through galleries of photos to decide whether a home fits one’s needs and then add it to saved searches for convenient reference on the app or via the agent’s website, where the saved searches are synced;
  • The ability to save notes on properties for future reference; and
  • Faster communication via call, text or email.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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Austin has been named the most aspirational city in the nation by the Daily Beast for attracting ambitious citizens.  The website ranked the country’s top aspirational cities –  also referring to them as “magnets of opportunity.” After Austin as number 1, Houston came in number 3, San Antonio number 9 and Dallas number 11. The Rankings focused on economic indicators such as employment growth and per capita income, demographic factors like growth among immigrant residents and quality-of-life factors, including traffic congestion. Austin was ranked as a “place where people can enjoy the cultural amenities and attitudes of ‘progressive’ blue states but in a distinctly red-state environment of low costs, less regulation and lower taxes.” Austin also showed the largest “Brain Gain” with a 20.6% increase in new residents with a BA degree.

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A city at its best, wrote the philosopher René Descartes, provides “an inventory of the possible.” The city Descartes had in mind was 17th-century Amsterdam, which for him epitomized those cities where people go to change their circumstances and improve their lives. But such aspirational cities have existed throughout American history as well, starting with Boston in the 17th century, Philadelphia in the 18th, New York in the 19th, Chicago in the early 20th, Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by midcentury Los Angeles, and San Jose in the 1980s.

Yes, the great rule of aspirational cities is that they change over time, becoming sometimes less entrepreneurial, more expensive, and demographically stagnant. In the meantime, other cities, often once obscure, suddenly become the new magnets of opportunity.

To determine America’s current aspirational hotspots, we focused in large part on economic indicators, such as employment growth, per capita income, and unemployment. But we also took into account demographic factors, such as the growth of domestic migration and the movement of college-educated people and the foreign born.

Finally, we considered quality-of-life factors such as traffic congestion, housing affordability, and crowding—which are keenly relevant to young families hunting for the places with the best “inventory of the possible.” In a sense, we believe aspirational cities reflect a kind of urban arbitrage, where people look for those places that provide not just economic and cultural opportunity but a cost structure that allows them to enjoy their success to the fullest extent.

Our top two cities reflect the importance of  this arbitrage opportunity. Both No. 1, Austin, Texas, and No. 2, New Orleans, are places where people can enjoy the cultural amenities and attitudes of “progressive” blue states but in a distinctly red-state environment of low costs, less regulation, and lower taxes. These places have lured companies and people from more expensive regions, notably California and the Northeast, by being not only culturally rich but also amenable to building a career, buying a home and, ultimately, raising a family in relative comfort.

Like the Texas state capital and the legendary Crescent City, most of our top cities are located in the American South and lower Midwest, and they attract businesses and people not only from other sections of the country but also increasingly from abroad as well. These include No. 3, Houston, and the smaller but burgeoning oil town of No. 4, Oklahoma City. These are followed by three fast-growing, low-cost Southern cities: No. 5, Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina; No. 6, Nashville; and No. 7, Richmond, Virginia.

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Not all our top aspirational cities are in Dixie. If there’s enough growth and opportunity, solidly blue-state regions can perform well enough to stay near the top of these rankings. Such cities include No. 8, Washington, D.C., and No. 10, Minneapolis–St. Paul, as well as No. 12, Seattle; No. 16, Denver; and even No. 22, Boston. In these cities, high-tech and professional-service growth has created enough wealth to offset higher costs while offering the next generation the chance to live in a culturally vibrant place where affording a home and raising a family are still possible.

Perhaps more surprising is the high aspirational ranking of some old Rust Belt and Great Lakes cities. The middle part of the country has been losing people and jobs for half a century, but more recently several urban areas within or bordering the Midwest have established enough of an aspirational culture to reverse the pattern of out-migration and begin luring people from the coasts. These include such diverse places as No. 15, Columbus, Ohio; No. 17 Louisville, Kentucky; No. 21 Pittsburgh; and No. 23, Indianapolis.

Of course, not everyone will find a perfect match in one of these cities. For those with extraordinary technical skills, for example, it still may make sense to move to the hotbed of the San Francisco Bay Area—notably No. 24, San Francisco, and No. 27, San Jose—where economic opportunity partially offsets extraordinarily high costs, at least for a certain portion of the population.

This applies as well even to cities toward the bottom of the list, including No. 46, New York, and, in last place, No. 51, Los Angeles. If you want to break into businesses such as finance, media, and entertainment, you have little choice but to concentrate on New York or Southern California. These areas may also prove more attractive to people who have inherited money (critical to affording houses or paying high rents), as well as those whose business is closely tied to these great cities’ ethnic economies.

People must also make tradeoffs when they decide where to locate. Some value a big house and yard, while others cannot abide a city without a decent opera or good Thai food. And those obsessed with, say, their children’s educations will clearly find a broader variety of schools and cultural institutions in San Francisco or New York than in Oklahoma City.

But for those who lack these specific demands, and for those whose priority is achieving a middle- or upper-middle-class quality of life, the less expensive, often smaller, and less congested cities seem to have  the greatest appeal. This may offend the sensibilities of retro-urbanists, who tend to cluster in the great legacy cities, along with our tribes of cultural tastemakers, but the hard reality shows that, for the most part, people move to places that offer not merely the best lattes or artisanal pizzas but the great opportunity for advancement.

The Geography of Growth

We give economic growth roughly half of the weight in these rankings. This consists of three factors: employment growth, unemployment, and per capita income. This is where some of the coastal cities still do well, notably San Jose, whose recent job growth places it first, as well as No. 4, Washington, and No. 7, Seattle. The local economies in these areas have all been driven by the rapid expansion of high-tech and professional services, which explains their particularly high per capita GDP numbers.

Yet most of the big winners in the economic-aspiration sweepstakes are concentrated elsewhere, notably in Texas. Since the recession, the Lone Star State has created 1 million new jobs, five times as many as New York state. In contrast, Florida and California have lost a half million positions. Not surprising, Texas accounts for four of the top 11 regions for economic opportunity (No. 2, Austin; No. 3, Houston; No. 9, San Antonio; and No. 11, Dallas).

No big economic region outperforms Houston, a metropolitan area of more than 5 million people that boasts arguably the strongest big-city economy in the nation. Not only the global hub of the energy industry, it also boasts the nation’s largest medical center and has dethroned New York City as the nation’s leading export center. Other strong performers include No. 7, Salt Lake City; No. 8, Oklahoma City; and No. 11, New Orleans, all of which have enjoyed strong job growth over the past five years.

What Do You Get for the Money?

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Strong economic growth—particularly high per capita incomes—represents half of our ranking, but this is balanced by considerations such as cost of living, housing, and traffic congestion. “Everyday life,” observed the great French historian Fernand Braudel, “consists of the little things one hardly notices in time and space.” This reality is particularly critical for young and prospective families, for whom a higher salary or glamorous environment may mean less than the prospect of owning a decent home, particularly without the necessity of a long, dispiriting commute.

These factors, we believe, will become more paramount as members of the large millennial or “echo boom” generation enter their late 20s, 30s, and even 40s over the next decade. This demographic—projected by the census to expand by roughly 8 million by 2025—is likely to prove intensely interested in owning their own homes. Indeed, research by generational analysts Morley Winograd and Mike Hais demonstrates that not only do millennials aspire to homeownership, but among the oldest cohorts of this group, now just entering their 30s, interest in buying a house actually surpasses that of their boomer parents.

This difference in the affordability of housing relative to incomes plays a major role in boosting the rankings of some strong aspirational areas, notably Raleigh; Richmond; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City; and Indianapolis. Along with traffic congestion, it tends to bring down the rankings of most California metropolitan areas, including San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, as well as such hipster hotspots as New York and Miami. We also include “doubling up,” where more than one family lives in a household, as a surrogate for poverty (since metropolitan poverty rates are not adjusted for the cost of living).

Demographic Destiny

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The last component of our rankings, accounting for roughly a quarter, lies in demographic trends. Like playing defense in basketball, the most important thing here is to watch the feet. The question is movement: where are people going, and where are they not? This tells us much about future trends and how people, as opposed to the media, actually view the best places for them to settle.

Our methodology concentrates on three metrics: domestic migration, growth of foreign-born population; and growth in the number of college-educated people. These groups reflect what may be thought of as “the canaries in the coal mine”—indicators of where people seeking a better life are choosing to settle. This factor seems to jibe with our overall rankings more than any other component.

The biggest beneficiaries tend, not surprisingly, to be places that are economically vibrant but not prohibitively expensive, such as Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Raleigh, Nashville, Richmond, and Charlotte. Over the past decade these areas have enjoyed by far the fastest growth not only in migration, but in college-educated people and perhaps most surprisingly in number of foreign-born people. Today immigrants are flocking to such unlikely places as Nashville, Richmond, Louisville, and Charlotte. As for the college-educated, they, too, are also migrating to these same aspirational cities, as well as to new hipster hotspots such as New Orleans and Nashville. The increase in B.A.-degree holders in these cities averages in the double digits or higher over the past decade, in some cases more than twice the growth in such traditional “brain gain” cities as Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, New York, and Boston.

The Urban Future

As the younger generation, as well as newly arrived immigrants, begins to look for places to settle, raise families, and start businesses, they will flock increasingly to these affordable and demographically, economically dynamic regions. Yet it is likely that other factors—global economics, shifts in immigration, and technological changes—could influence the aspirational landscape in the years to come.

In thinking about the future, then, it is important to recall that not long ago some of the cities near the top of today’s aspirational list were facing seemingly irreversible economic decline, demographic stagnation, and even loss and deterioration of basic infrastructure. You only have to recall the dismal ’70s in Seattle, where post-Vietnam budget cuts inspired some to ask that “whoever is last to leave turn out the lights,” or Houston and Dallas–Fort Worth after the oil bust in the ’80s, when those cities were widely known for their “see through” office buildings and abandoned housing complexes.

It’s always possible that unpredictable and major shifts could topple today’s aspirational cities from the top of the list. However, given current conditions and the most likely accrual of current trends, we can expect that most of the cities at the top of the aspirational rankings will remain there for some time to come.

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