National Geographic Traveler has revealed its 29 “Cities on the Rise,” and one South Sound community made the cut.
Olympia was named the magazine’s “most caffeinated” and “greenest” small city, earning it a place on the list. To identify the cities, National Geographic Traveler worked with global destination branding advisors Resonance Consultancy in developing a Small Cities Index, a survey that drew from statistics and social media mentions to determine which cities rank highest in a variety of categories.
“At Traveler we're passionate about tales of urban renewal, about communities that have collaborated to improve their main streets, about smart cities that have pursued development policies that produce happiness. In this article, we report on authentic small cities that each embody a surprising superlative,” says George Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor in chief. “Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers. Our index of small cities on the rise is based on unconventional metrics that we think produce happiness: green spaces, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments and puppies!”
Through Resonance Consultancy's algorithm, Traveler surfaced the cities that ranked the highest for each population size and identified “trending” cities that didn't top the list this year, but look to be climbing their way up.
“Every city is unique,” says Resonance Consultancy President Chris Fair. “Our approach to analyzing millions of consumer-generated ratings and reviews to create indexes such as these is an innovative new approach to revealing the characteristics that differentiate one place from another. We're excited to be working with National Geographic to share this data and its insights with travelers around the world.”