Magazine: Paducah is World's 5th 'Smartest City'
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - Paducah is listed in the top five in a National Geographic Traveler
article describing the fifty "World's Smartest Cities."
The article in the October issue, which just hit news stands, lists essential places, people, trends, and ideas that have turned the world’s most intelligent cities into travelers’ hottest tickets.
In the article, Ian MacFarlane, consultant for National Geographic Channel’s Smart Cities program, said, “A city needs a heart and soul—typically the center, where people congregate for work and leisure. Smart cities are well-connected locally and internationally, have a sustainable lifestyle, and are places where people come first.”
Paducah is at number five, because it's listed as one of seven UNESCO Cities of Crafts and Folk Art, with the National Quilt Museum and the Lowertown Arts District as top draws - for potters, painters, jewelry makers, fiber artists, and anyone who appreciates their creativity.
Laura Schaumburg, Marketing Director for Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, said it's an honor for the city.
"National Geographic Traveler
obviously has great name recognition and the cultural audience that appreciates what Paducah does have, so we're excited to be amongst those other cities," Schaumburg said.
She said after Paducah was named a UNESCO city, CVB began using a publicity firm to help reach travelers with that information, so Paducah would be seen as a destination city. They are helping them market the city's fall activities, from Barbeque on the River to performing arts events to holiday celebrations.
A lot of people know UNESCO as an organization that designates cities as World Heritage Sites, but the Creative Cities designation is newer.
Schaumburg said, "The Creative Cities network really speaks to that same vein of protecting heritage and preserving our culture and the authenticity of that, but a tenet of that is sustainability, so I think that these cities are using these ideas to be sustainable."
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Arts Council spoke at Wednesday's Rotary Club meeting, and talked about Paducah's creative industries. Because of that, several artists were at the lunch, where they first heard the announcement of the city's recognition.
"Everyone is very proud that we are receiving this recognition, and the arts partners, I think they're seeing all their hard work recognized in a big way," Schaumburg said.
She said the organization has already seen a spike in social media "hits" about Paducah since the issue came out this week, but hasn't seen specific data about the city's websites yet. But Schaumburg expects to see increased interest, and will be following up with anyone who contacts them.
The list includes cities known for innovation or historic tourism, such as San Francisco and Rome, while others showed creativity in modes of travel, like Paris and Mumbai. Other entries list innovations not necessarily linked to just one city, or rank cities in several categories.
Lexington, KY also made the list at number 24, and Chattanooga is number 10.
On the Net: National Geographic Traveler Article