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Cincinnati In The News

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Fountain Square Christkindlmarkt among top 10 German-style Christmas markets in U.S.


USA Today recently published a roundup of popular Christmas markets in Germany, accompanied by a slideshow of the 10 best German-style holiday markets in the U.S., including the Cincideutsch market on Fountain Square.

"The Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt brings European holiday traditions to Cincinnati, an Ohio River city with a deep German heritage and a huge Oktoberfest," the slideshow says in describing the downtown weekend market.

The fourth annual Christkindlmarkt is run by Cincideutsch, a group of German-speaking residents in Cincinnati who enjoy celebrating their German heritage. The market vendors offer a variety of traditional holiday sweets and European baked goods, Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and other hot beverages, Christian Moerlein beer and handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. It's open 4-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 20.

See the full USA Today top 10 list here.
 

Cincinnati one of the fastest growing U.S. "creative class hotspots"


Richard Florida, who invented the "creative class" concept when writing about trends among young, educated and mobile workers, has a new article on The Atlantic's CityLab website comparing U.S. cities' concentrations of the creative class in 2014 vs. 2000. Thanks to the efforts of many people here, Greater Cincinnati has the fifth fastest growing population of creative class residents among the 50 largest metro areas.

Cincinnati's creative class grew by 21 percent between 2000 and 2014, placing it in heady company with Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Portland and Salt Lake City.

"While most studies equate talent with the share of adults who hold college degrees, the creative class gauges what workers actually do by identifying the occupations in which they're employed," Florida writes. "Since I first wrote about this class more than a decade ago, it has gained millions more members. Today it comprises roughly a third of the workforce and accounts for about half of all wages and salaries across the United States."

The top cities in 2014 for creative class residents as a share of overall population are still on the coasts: San Jose, Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Hartford, Conn. But Florida is impressed that job growth associated with the creative class has made inroads in the Midwest.

"When all is said and done, the winners and losers of the creative class look much the same in 2014 as they did in 2000," he writes. "But it's heartening to see that some of the metros with the lowest creative class shares a decade and a half ago — Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Milwaukee — have made substantial gains. This bodes well for the future prosperity of these metros, demonstrating that substantial creative class growth can occur in places that once lagged pretty far behind."

Read the full CityLab story here.
 

Stop letting starchitects ruin college campuses, including UC, says Project for Public Spaces


The University of Cincinnati received national attention from The New York Times in September for its focus on "starchitecture" in building new facilities on campus — a series of striking structures designed by high-profile architects. The new buildings have helped raise UC's national profile but contribute greatly to its $1.1 billion debt load; still, enrollment has increased by nearly 30 percent over the past 10 years.

The Project for Public Spaces has published an opinion piece that says such "build it and they will come" approaches are ruining college campuses. The nonprofit planning, design and educational organization describes itself as "dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities."

College tuition has been on the rise for 40 years, the article says, but rather than cutting costs colleges are spending more and more money on their exterior aesthetics.

"One of the boldest examples comes from the University of Cincinnati, which has enlisted a 'murderers' row' of architects to redesign their campus, including Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, and Thom Mayne," Project for Public Spaces says. "This adds up to a lot of shiny new buildings, including the crown jewel — Mr. Mayne’s exorbitant $112.9 million Campus Recreation Center, which opened in 2006. But there’s even more in the works: UC's Department of Athletics has requested a $70 million renovation of the basketball arena, which, if approved, will open in 2017."

The article then points out that academic spending per full-time undergraduate student at UC dropped 24 percent between 2005 and 2013 "while its professors earn salaries that rank far below those at similar research institutions."

Read the full Project for Public Spaces story here.
 

Can Cincinnati learn from these "top 10 urban innovations"?


Now that Cincinnati is testing its first streetcars and enjoys a variety of craft beer microbreweries, we can safely cross "Become a city of the future" off our civic to-do list.

But wait, what about 10 or 15 years from now when this "future" stuff will be boring and stupid? What are cities of the future planning for the next round of futuristic city living?

The Urban Edge — a blog from the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University — provides a peek at the top 10 urban innovations happening around the world right now, according to a new World Economic Forum report.

"In its report, WEF seeks to answer the simple question: what will the cities of tomorrow be like? It highlights 10 innovations happening right now that may offer clues," says the intro to a Dec. 2 blog post.

The top 10 list includes digitally re-programmable space, an internet of freshwater pipes, adopting trees through social media, augmented humanity, unleashing share capacity and five others. Who wants to bet which one makes it to Cincinnati first?

Read the full Urban Edge blog post here.
 

Good times in Cincinnati, A (art) to Z (Zula)


Andrew Davis, managing editor of Chicago's Windy City Times, a newspaper and website serving the LGBTQ community, visited Cincinnati recently as part of its TRAVEL series and came away impressed.

"When I told several people I'd be headed to Cincinnati, Ohio, and neighboring northern Kentucky," Davis wrote in the opening to his report, "I pretty much received a collective shrug as well as comments like, 'You'll probably run out of things to do within a day.' Well, I'm here to tell people near and far that Cincinnati and Kentucky have a LOT to offer — primarily with (courtesy of revitalization) some pretty unique spots that make the area memorable."

Davis' whirlwind visit included Over-the-Rhine, Covington's MainStrasse district ("reminded me of Evanston"), Clifton and Northside ("full of treasures of all types").

Read the full story from Windy City Times here.
 

Jens Lekman making music more personal and intimate from Cincinnati


Jens Lekman is one of Sweden's best-known musicians and a darling of the indie pop world, writes Stephen Heyman in The New York Times. He has three full-length albums to his name, including 2007's Night Falls Over Kortedala, which made it onto several critics' lists of the last decade's best records.

Heyman runs a Q&A in the Times's International Arts section to explore Lekman's recent push into more intimate and immediate ways of music-making and explains how he was in Cincinnati this fall working on a project called "Ghostwriting" in which he interviewed people about their lives and turned their stories into songs he later released for free on his website.

Lekman performed a few weeks ago at the Woodward Theater in a collaboration with MYCincinnati Youth Orchestra.

Read the full New York Times Q&A here.
 

How transportation planning is stuck in the past


A new report from the National League of Cities, "City of the Future: Technology & Mobility," details the many challenges city and regional leaders face in adapting their planning efforts to coming workforce and demographic changes. Bob Graves, associate director of the Governing Institute, writes about the report's findings in Governing Magazine.

"For all we hear about the impact that technology and social changes are having on urban mobility, you'd certainly expect to see their influence reflected in city transportation planning," he says. "For the most part, unfortunately, this simply isn't the case."

In short, Graves writes, the NLC study finds that the cities' planning efforts focus heavily "on the problem of automobile congestion and prescribe increased infrastructure in the form of new roads as the primary cure."

The study analyzed city and regional transportation planning documents from the 50 most populous U.S. cities as well as the largest cities in every state, for a total of 68 communities. Cincinnati didn't make the cut, but our regional planning shortcomings are certainly echoed in the report.

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

Cincinnati has two of the 23 worst traffic bottlenecks in U.S.


The American Transportation Research Institute has collected and processed truck GPS data since 2002 to create performance measures related to truck-based freight transportation, then quantifies the impact of traffic congestion at 250 specific locations. Their latest analysis shows that Cincinnati has two of the nation's 23 worst traffic bottlenecks.

The intersection of I-71 and I-75 at the Brent Spence Bridge downtown is the #7 worst traffic congestion spot in the U.S., ahead of anything in Los Angeles. Don't worry, though, because we're going to get a Brent Spence Bridge replacement very soon.

The I-75/I-74 split is the country's #23 worst traffic congestion spot. That area is actually scheduled to be rebuilt and should be finished in 5-10 years.

But things could always be worse: Houston has four of the top 10 worst traffic bottlenecks.

Read the full American Transportation Research Institute study here.
 

Cincinnati among top 20 U.S. cities for freelance graphic designers


The Graphic Design USA website is citing Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers to say there are 259,500 graphic designers in the U.S., with 24 percent self-employed. It then looks at a study by Zen99, a tax company for self-employed workers, to compare which cities provide "the biggest bang for the buck" for self-employed or freelance graphic designers.

Cincinnati is ranked #18 in the study, which explores where graphic designers earn the most, which cities have the highest percentage of self-employed designers and how affordable are living costs, especially health insurance.

The top five cities are Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; and Miami.

Read the full Graphic Design USA post here.
 

Did Kentucky governor's race kill political polling?


Politicians like to say that the only poll that matters is on Election Day. That's starting to be more true, according to analysis in Governing Magazine.

Writer Alan Greenblatt points out that polls in the Kentucky governor's race consistently showed Democrat Jack Conway with a slight lead over Republican Matt Bevin. Not only did Bevin win, but it wasn't even close, as he took 53 percent of the vote to Conway's 44 percent.

The day after the election, The Lexington Herald-Leader announced it would dump Survey USA as its pollster.

"We might as well buy monkeys and dartboards vs. what we had here with Survey USA," Greenblatt quotes Kentucky Republican consultant Scott Jennings.

"The problems aren't limited to the Bluegrass State," the article says. "Last year, polls around the country underestimated the Republican strength in several Senate races, as well as the governor's race in Wisconsin. Conversely, in 2012, the Gallup Poll showed Mitt Romney beating Barack Obama in the presidential election."

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

ArtWorks murals tell Cincinnati's story "one wall at a time"


The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes a tour of ArtWorks' mural program and comes away impressed.

"To learn the history of Cincinnati, take a walk. Then look around," Susan Glaser writes. "The city's story surrounds you, in full color, on the exteriors of buildings scattered throughout downtown and in dozens of nearby neighborhoods."

Glaser and a Plain Dealer photographer check out some of the Cincinnati's newest and best-known murals, including Ezzard Charles and Henry Holtgrewe, the world's strongest man, in Over-the-Rhine; the fruit stand beside Kroger's headquarters; and the retouched Cincinnatus homage at Vine Street and Central Parkway.

"Every day, thousands of residents and visitors pass by the murals," Galser writes, "and, perhaps, wonder: What is that? How did it get there?"

Read the full Cleveland Plain Dealer story here.
 

Cincinnati recommended for "weekend getaway" from Chicago


Inside Hook bills itself as "the essential city guide email for adventurous and established men — guys who have limited time, but discerning taste and a thirst for experiences." It focuses on Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and that's where Cincinnati comes in.

In its 4hr. Rule section, the Chicago site offers a guide to Cincinnati as one of "the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home. ... Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours."

Inside Hook calls Cincinnati "one of the surprising destinations on the mid-sized-American-city travel circuit ... a city built on Midwestern spirit (and immigrant German muscle) with a slight dose of Southern charm."

Guide highlights include 21c Museum Hotel, Salazar, Eden Park, Rhinegeist, Article Menswear and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar.

Read the full Inside Hook post here.
 

UC professors discover possible "gateway to civilizations" in Greece


A grave discovered this spring by Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, a husband-and-wife team in the University of Cincinnati's Department of Classics, is yielding artifacts that The New York Times says "could be a gateway" to explain the earliest development of Ancient Greek culture.

"Probably not since the 1950s have we found such a rich tomb," James C. Wright, director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, told The Times. "You can count on one hand the number of tombs as wealthy as this one," echoed Thomas M. Brogan, director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete.

The article says Davis and Stocker have been excavating near the Greek coastal city of Pylos for 25 years and were surprised to find such an impressive site basically right under their noses.

"It is indeed mind boggling that we were first," Davis wrote in an email to The Times. "I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. So many walked over it so many times, including our own team."

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

25 years later: Cincinnati and Mapplethorpe


Cincinnati writer/artist Grace Dobush has a well-researched and well-written story in today's Washington Post about this weekend's activity at the Contemporary Arts Center celebrating the 25th anniversary of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's infamous Perfect Moment exhibition at the CAC. Events and the symposium continue through tomorrow; see the full schedule here.

Dobush does a nice job reminding readers of the local tumult in 1990, centering around the prosecution of the CAC and its director, Dennis Barrie, and their subsequent acquittal by a Hamilton County jury. She also discusses Cincinnati's slow recovery from the culture wars that created an atmosphere where art could be prosecuted as obscenity.

"When Chris Seelbach became Cincinnati’s first openly gay City Council member in 2011 ... Cincinnati’s score on the Human Rights Council’s Municipal Equality Index, which evaluates cities on support for LGBT populations, was 68," Dobush writes. "As of 2014, it was a perfect 100. And Cincinnati son Jim Obergefell was at the center of the landmark Supreme Court decision this year to legalize gay marriage."

Interviews include Seelbach, CAC Director Raphaela Platow, Source Cincinnati's Julie Calvert, former Mercantile Library Director Albert Pyle and Vice Mayor David Mann. Great job, Grace!

Read the full Washington Post story here.
 

Cincinnati among three new U.S. streetcar lines hitting milestones


Urban issues website Next City discusses Cincinnati's Streetcar's final downtown track section being completed in its weekly "New Starts" roundup of newsworthy public transportation projects worldwide.

Streetcar projects in Cincinnati and Kansas City are moving toward completion, the roundup reports, with both systems awaiting delivery of their first vehicles from CAF's manufacturing plant in Elmira, N.Y. The article also provides an update on the new streetcar line in Washington, D.C., which is currently testing its vehicles and hopes to be fully operational by year end.

Read the full Next City roundup here.
 
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