Looking for good small cities for "benchmarking."
Here in Whangarei, New Zealand the planners are trying to find a similarly sized city that has overcome obstacles to become cool. Whangarei has some good attributes - some of the best beaches in the world (no exaggeration), a yachting culture, scenery galore - but is defintely not cool. Some us, well, me, believe that coolness is one of the most important things in attracting people today. Call it the Richard Florida Creative Class thing. So. Please suggest some small cities that have the following characteristics: 40- 70,000 people, no university, not part of a major metro area, and that has transformed into a cool place. Some suggestions as to how the transformation came about, or what is cool about the place are welcome, too. Thanks.
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