Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kansas City is America's 19th filthiest city

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:10 AM

click to enlarge You're a dirty, dirty city!
  • You're a dirty, dirty city!

You have to love arbitrary magazine lists that pit American cities against one another. In this year alone, people who don't live here have ranked Kansas City the 36th drunkest city, the 21st most dangerous city, and home of the nation's second-best barbecue. Men's Health even gave us props for an imaginary light rail project. Honors all.

And now Travel + Leisure has bestowed another ranking on our fair city: The 19th dirtiest spot in the country. Whoo!



What makes the rank ranking even more awesome, though, is that the magazine itself says the whole list is a load of crap. See, it's based on the magazine's America's Favorite Cities survey, not actual data analysis. The introduction to the list even outs itself as meaningless:

Of course, visitors gauge "dirty" in a variety of ways: litter,

air pollution, even the taste of local tap water.

This year's American State Litter Scorecard, published by

advocacy group the American Society for Public Administration, put both Nevada

and Louisiana in the bottom five -- echoing the assessment of T+L readers who

ranked Las Vegas and New Orleans among America's dirtiest cities.

Likewise, the American Lung Association releases an annual

State of the Air report, listing cities with the least (and most) pollution.

Not surprisingly, Los Angeles fared poorly again this year -- but so did Phoenix,

which T+L readers actually ranked among the top 15 "cleanest."

It just goes to show that for casual visitors, passing

judgment on a city's dirt factor is pretty subjective -- and may even have a lot

to do with a general vibe. Many of the cities that ranked poorly in the AFC

survey also tanked when it came to environmental awareness, nice public parks, or pedestrian-friendly streets.

Outstanding. But if the value of the list is dubious, the magazine's description of Kansas City is utterly useless.

For better or worse, this Missouri city didn't get into the

dirty top 20 for throwing crazy parties. KC's fans perhaps love the down-home,

no-nonsense nature of the city: voters turned out for the barbecue and the deals -- the city came in third for its affordability.

"Down-home, no-nonsense?" What the hell kind of descriptors are these, Travel + Leisure? This means nothing. It's no better than dummy text used to lay out a publication. It's vapid, hit-driving drivel. Locally, we know that Kansas City is a dirty place. You don't have to look any further than the trash piles and abandoned tires that plague some neighborhoods to know that. At least give us something of substance to chew on or spark a debate.

But, hey, it's always good to know what Travel + Leisure readers perceive about our collective filth. That's swell.

Photo by Eric Rogers.

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