2013: 5 Cities Soaring From the Ashes

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11th Feb 2013




The 7th Annual Hub Culture Zeitgeist Ranking is about to appear, and during our evaluations we often run across a theme that merits a smaller preview list.

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This year's key word seems to be resilience, and it reflects a definite trend of extreme revival happening in the world today.  With that in mind, we present five cities that are rising, phoenix-like, from the ashes, and are therefore terribly interesting places to think about deal-making in the months ahead.

Christchurch

Following a series of devastating earthquakes in 2011 and 2012, downtown Christchurch was truly obliterated. A year later, the city is presented with a rare opportunity - the chance to rebuild the central core of New Zealand's second largest city for the different needs of the 21st century.  

From a cardboard cathedral to shipping container restaurants, a temporary vision for Christchurch has emerged, and its laying the groundwork for bigger thinking on sustainable development - a valuable signpost for urban futures worldwide.  

As the city rebuilds talk of giving up the city for lost have been replaced with talk about how to improve the city, literally from the ground up. With any luck, they'll get it right.

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Las Vegas

Crisis breeds innovation, and few places have seen a downturn as harsh as Vegas has experienced over the last few years.  Now that the "new normal" is just normal, Las Vegas is taking steps to transform itself for better diversification moving forward.  

Central to this is a $350M plan to transform downtown into a co-working playground, centered around 'communities of passion'. Well, Vegas IS known for passion...

Its a tall order for the city of sin to magically transform into the city of sharing, but it bodes well as an attempt to embrace a more collaborative future. 

 

 

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Bogotá

Described by some as the ugliest city in the world (minus the mountain views), 20th century Bogotá has never been a favorite of the global jetset. Fortunately, one of the new issues facing Bogotá is growth, as Colombia's transformation from drug den to investment darling continues to impress the world.  

While the excitement for the global traveler centers on Medellín, Cartagena and those fabulous beaches, Colombia's capital city is undergoing a rebirth as well - with over 9 million inhabitants and an economy ripe with opportunity for growth.

It has a long ways to go, but the future has never looked brighter for Colombia's capital city.  Added plus: its closer to the US than many realize.

 

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New Orleans

How did America's Venice find its renaissance? The answer lies in its people - who returned after 2005's Hurricane Katrina and set about to reinvent the city they love.  

While a lot of things went wrong in a slow and painful recovery, there's no doubt that the city has its groove back, with a new and improved attitude.

Those billions of federal aid haven't hurt either, serving to clean up this party city and preserve its fabulously unique culture, authentic identity all too rare (and ever more valuable) in a homogenized McAmerica.  

Plus: Jazz!

 

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Baghdad

Daily direct flights from Germany. Bankers tiptoeing in from Singapore.  Oil exports to rival Saudi Arabia. A new metro and a building construction boom.

While Baghdad remains a minefield of safety, political and business risks, the reality is that the city has turned a massive corner and is well on the road to making boatloads of money for those who can navigate a razor sharp cutting edge.

The ante to sit at the table remains high, but its clear that for the first time in a long time, business, not bombs, are on the mind in once fabled Babylon.