by James Hudson
You can thank local restaurants like Zemam's and Café Desta for putting Tucson on the latest national media's "Top 10 Cities We're Clickbaiting" list. In an article published online earlier this week, Forbes cites Tucson's Hispanic millennials, its strong college-based community, and affordability as key factors in making it one of the hottest cities for growth. Oh yeah, and its Ethiopian food.
Marian Salzman, one of Forbes' resident "Trendspotters," uses a variety of criteria to come to her ranking of ten up-and-coming cities in this week's online feature "Why The Southwest Is The New Capital Of Influence." Above all, it's the millions of Hispanic-American families (17% of the current US population) that are ultimately driving the growth to our region. Salzman also seems to be pushing a non-Twitter usage of #nextgen to define this latest generation. (Note to self: suppress audible groans, obvious eye-rolling upon hearing #nextgen at future networking mixers with possible #nextgeners.)
The usual suspects are here (e.g. San Francisco, Phoenix, Austin), book-ended by an apparent flood of young, tech-savvy, market-targets migrating to the "Good Ol' San Antone" and "The Old Pueblo" (here comes more rebranding attempts). As this unfortunately worded passage informs, "Latin millennials are putting Latin flair into its cities, places and spaces." Hey, who doesn't like flair?
If you haven't been paying attention to national trends, the City of Tucson has been, and finally realized that creating an attractive lifestyle for future workers and employers now tops tax incentives. Preach on, Forbes:
10. Tucson. The University of Arizona put the state’s second city on the map and still plays a role in its young image. Tucson’s millennial reputation is as a city of the future—affordable and very ethnic and authentic. Our respondents gave us reasons such as “It seems like a young and vibrant town. It seems like it would have a lot of fun things to do” and “It has rich traditions, mixed with modern lifestyles. It has a low cost of living with all the available amenities.
And while we're used to getting national praise for our excellent burritos, Sonoran hot dogs and Margaritas, it's the first time I can recall an African nation's food mentioned in a food-related Tucson anecdote. As Forbes declares, in closing: "Have you had Ethiopian food in Tucson? That is the future." Yes, a future paved with Injera and split peas—who's hungry for some spicy vegan future?