by Andrew Crisp
Downtown Boise is where small town charm meets urban cool. That's according to livability.com, a website which ranks more than 500 American cities and recently listed Boise as No. 4 on a 2012 "Top 10 Downtowns" list.
Boise ranked behind Alexandria, Va., at No. 3, and ahead of Little Rock, Ark., at No. 5. Nearby mountain town Fort Collins, Colo., was ranked as the No. 1 downtown according to the website.
To create the list, Livability said the company contacted Christopher Leinberger, director of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University, who helped define successful downtown areas.
Livability identified cities with an emphasis on aesthetics and atmosphere, according to the website, but also narrowed the research to include only cities between 100,000 and 300,000 people. In addition, Livability looked at economic growth, unemployment and transportation considerations. The list's sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor and websites like areavibes.com, walkscore.com and yelp.com.
"Approximately 30,000 people work in downtown Boise, which has more than 300 retail and service businesses. That figure includes more than 90 restaurants, and most are locally owned," according to livability.com.
Boise was not included in the 2011 list compiled by Livability.