September 22, 2012

America’s Dirtiest Cities ignores Silicon Valley

120922-dirtiest-coverTravel & Leisure magazine really enjoys making all kinds of lists of cities, and their newest one is a doody.  Whoops, we mean a doozy, sorry.  They’ve just released a list of America’s Dirtiest Cities, which is merely a reverse ranking of the Cleanliness category on their Quality of Life index. They do love making lists.

T&L offers lists of the best city for singles, or for culture, or fine dining on their website, and they do an annual America’s Favorite Cities ranking that adds up a number of those qualities.  But one thing you won’t find is any mention of America’s tenth largest city, San Jose.

120922-dirtiest-tandlThere are only 35 cities on T&L’s lists, and as far as they’re concerned, San Jose is merely a very remote suburb of smaller but way more famous San Francisco.  (San Francisco ranks 14th in population and is a quarter the physical size of San Jose.)  The only other California cities on T&L’s rankings are Los Angeles and San Diego, both of which are larger than either Northern California nexus.  Cities they deem more worth your notice than San Jose include Baltimore, Portland (Maine), Savannah, Providence, and Kansas City.

Here’s the SF entry on the dirtiest cities list, and we’ve got the entire list for you as well.  (Spoiler: NYC wins again.)


No. 11 San Francisco

The foodie capital of the nation ranks near the top of the AFC for its fine dining, ethnic cuisine, and cafés. But all that takeout can pile up. A recent study found that one of the biggest culprits for pollution in the San Francisco Bay is food containers—though ironically, they may be floating in from neighboring cities. Voters also commended the locals for being brainy and diverse.

See all the America’s Favorite Cities survey results!

The ten cities with even less civic hygiene than San Francisco are:

  1. New York City –  If you can make a mess here, you can make it anywhere.
  2. New Orleans –  The Simpsons defamed them far better than we could.
  3. Baltimore –  Quoth the raven, “Close the compactor door!”
  4. Los Angeles –  You’ll never get out of your car, so you’ll never know.
  5. Atlanta –  The litter gets moved around rather than be Gone With the Wind.
  6. Philthydelphia –  Sorry, couldn’t resist.
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth –  Everything’s bigger in Texas.
  8. Miami –  Why clean up? Another hurricane’s just around the corner.
  9. Memphis –  Elvis has left the building, but his trash hasn’t.
  10. Houston – See Dallas.  Then note they rank #7 and #10, showing that everything’s merely said to be bigger in Texas.

If you’re interested, this T&L link covers how SF has fared on all their lists.  The City by the Bay earns plenty of Top Ten rankings, and only hit bottom on Affordability, Filth, and (you didn’t see this one coming, did you?) Barbecue and Hamburgers (the latter only according to residents; we prefer the travelers’ rankings).  Worst city for barbeque: Anchorage, Alaska.

And bad news, New York City beat us again on Least Affordable.  We really have to work on that.  How about raising the price of cable car tickets to thirty bucks?  The only #1 ranking San Francisco got on anything was its residents’ vote for Ethnic Food.  Otherwise, there was plenty of Number Two all over SF.  And that brings us back to today’s topic.

120922-dirtiest-coyotecreekSee the trash in that photo on the left?  That’s Coyote Creek earlier this month (the WINNER!!! in an SF Chronicle piece on dirtiest Bay Area waterways), so San Francisco’s got nothing on us!

You can discuss the relative filth of any city you wish, including the one you live in.  Or anything at all, because this is Your Weekend Open Thread.  How filthy were the Open Houses you visited today?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am

12 Responses to “America’s Dirtiest Cities ignores Silicon Valley”

  1. madhaus Says:

    Okay, it’s up, it’s up. Let the wild rumpus start.

  2. wahnny Says:

    Interesting observation regarding pollution of Coyote Creek:

    … San Jose has some of the strictest plastic bag regulations in the country, with seemingly no effect on its creeks.

    The reason is the explosion of homeless encampments along the creek banks, officials said. Since the economy collapsed, the South Bay has seen homelessness soar because of cuts to social services and unemployment.

  3. nomadic Says:

    psst, madhaus. Today is the 22nd…

  4. Real Estater Says:

    San Jose is not much of a city. It’s more like a large suburb, with a small downtown that nobody cares to visit, because there is little of interest there for the tourist or for the locals. It certainly won’t score for singles scene (unless you are a female looking for a programmer type), culture (most well known museum is the Children’s Discovery Museum), or food (except for pho’).

  5. Divasm Says:

    My son has recently become enamored of the Pixar flick Wall E, which makes me feel like I’m single-handedly destroying the planet every time I change a diaper. And that’s just CG trash! I wonder where they got their inspiration from, over there in the East Bay?

  6. madhaus Says:

    Only way I can change this post to the 22nd would be to blow it away, republish it, and add all your comments back in. I can change the date, but then the filename has the wrong date in it so you can no longer find it. Grrr.

    Addendum: Well, that was too easy. Return it to draft, change date, republish. Comments even came along for the ride.

  7. nomadic Says:

    Cool. I wasn’t expecting you to do anything about it.

  8. Real Estater Says:

    What?? You mean the date on these posts are not system generated? Are you also typing in the time stamp every time somebody submits a post?

  9. madhaus Says:

    What?? You mean the date on these posts are not system generated? Are you also typing in the time stamp every time somebody submits a post?

    This blog is running on a Lada-powered server, using only the finest kerosene fuel. System-generated timestamps? We can’t even afford system-generated categories. See that list of cities on the right column? We type those in every morning, incrementing the count for the new article. See where it says Mountain View is in 161 posts? It’s probably more like 1161 but we lost count.

    Want to see newer, better tech for this site? Donate. Maybe Burbed will send me some more kerosene.

  10. Curtis Reddehase Says:

    Love your little one liners about all the cities on the list. Thanks for sharing!

    And thank you, Curtis, for taking the time to post here all the way from Sky Realty in Austin, Texas. We have this thing about spamming our site, though, so you are welcome here but your linkback isn’t the right height. –ed.

  11. sunflower Says:

    San Jose is a world class city with a world class downtown and is the cleanest city in the country. Thanks, Travel and Leisure for not putting San Jose as the dirtiest city.

  12. Northern California: Fit, healthy & wealthy [] Says:

    […] Updated: Nope, that was actually Travel & Leisure. […]

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