REPORT ON DFW AREA VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
Visitor Attractions and Quality of Life

The Report on DFW Area Visitor Attractions addresses the value of visitor attractions, which cities primarily consider for their economic benefits. But there are significant quality of life benefits to consider, including education, wellness, happiness, satisfaction and tranquility. There is a strong correlation between the quality of life in a city and the quality of cultural resources it provides for its population.

Danza Azteca performance in Carrollton
A Danza Azteca performance during a multi-cultural festival in Carrollton.


Texas cities rank among the largest in the nation. Extremely large cities normally don't rank well in Well-Being and Quality of Life surveys or studies, as the "Community Well-being Rankings" by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reveals. However, their rank is still important to consider and improve on.

As noted in the Report on DFW Area Visitor Attractions, visitors are considered local residents who participate in activities or attend events, as well as out-of-town visitors, since they all contribute economic activity and sustainability of cultural interests. Large cities that have historically provided great activities for all kinds of visitors continue to rank highly in "Active Living Environment in U.S. Communities", as demonstrated in the State of American Well-Being index in 2015. The cities at the top of the poll are most of the same cities that lead the nation in cultural resources and visitor attractions.


"Active Living Environment in U.S. Communities"

To understand the rankings of large cities and the correlation with quality of life, particularly by the ones that have the most success in visitor attractions, the report includes data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which ranked 189 communities based on 350,000 interviews from 2015-2016.

The index is used for well-being improvement, with cities like Fort Worth participating in the Healthways Blue Zones Project. Healthways notes, "the data and insights from this report can be used as a call-to-action for communities around the country, leveraging it to benchmark and identify opportunities for well-being improvement." Well-being includes sense of purpose, social health, community health, physical health and financial health.
David Johnson, Time (March 6, 2017) reported: "When people are invested in improving their communities, they feel motivated to get out of bed each day, says (Healthways) president Karissa Price. 'It isn't just about physical health or income - there is a larger need to feel connected.'"

The correlation of cities with excellent visitor attractions (and effective use of cultural resources) with the top rankings for "Active Living Environment in U.S. Communities" is no accident. In the study's best communities, respondents reported low incidents of "feeling little interest or pleasure in doing things." They experience more encouragement and lower rates of depression.

The "Active Living Environment in U.S. Communities" index looks at 48 medium- to large-size metro communities across the U.S. for health factors (diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and benefits like walkability, bikeability, healthy eating, healthcare access, healthy diet and positive life evaluation.


Community Well-Being Rankings

Texas cities are highlighted.

Community Well-Being Rankings
State of American Well-Being, 2016
189 U.S. communities:

1
Naples, FL
3
Santa Cruz, CA
9
Hilton Head, SC
10
Boulder, CO
14
McAllen, TX
16
El Paso, TX
22
San Diego, CA
24
San Antonio, TX
26
Ashville, NC
29
Fayetteville, AR
31
San Francisco, CA
32
Portland, OR
35
Miami, FL
37
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
44
Washington DC
46
Austin, TX
47
Phoenix, AZ
49
Charleston, SC
52
Houston, TX
10
Los Angeles, CA
55
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
57
Denver, CO
58
Boston, MA
71
Orlando, FL
72
Nashville, TN
75
Portland, OR
79
Seattle, WA
83
Atlanta, GA
93
Chicago, IL
94
Las Vegas, NV
101
New York City-Jersey City, NJ
103
New Orleans, LA
175
Lubbock, TX
182
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX


        Active Living Environment in U.S. Communities
State of American Well-Being, 2015
48 medium to large metropolitan communities:

1
Boston-Cambridge, MA
2
San Francisco-Oakland, CA
3
Chicago, IL
4
New York City-Jersey City, NJ
5
Washington DC
6
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
7
Seattle-Tacoma, WA
8
Portland, OR
9
Miami, FL
10
Baltimore, MD
13
Denver, CO
16
Los Angeles-Anaheim, CA
24
Atlanta, GA
26
Las Vegas, NV
28
Austin, TX
29
Houston, TX
30
Orlando, FL
38
San Antonio, TX
40
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX


Note: For those who have previously followed the State of American Well-Being - Community Well-Being Rankings and may have noticed that Dallas-Fort Worth and other Texas cities dropped in the rankings from previous reports, it is important to know that the number of cities surveyed increased from 100 to 191. The rankings of Texas cities are somewhat consistent relative to their positions in older surveys (with 100 ranked) and the latest survey (with nearly twice as many ranked at 191).


The Outcomes

The wellness and happiness index reveals important information about the economic benefits of visitor resources and attractions. Cities that may have the most success in attracting visitors may also be overly rooted in one-dimensional attractions and service industries (creating wider economic disparity and lower sense of purpose), like Las Vegas and Orlando, resulting in lower rankings. Cities that support greater diversity of attractions that promote education, social interests, cultural competency, personal recreation, etc. are more favorable and rank higher. Even as large cities with economic problems, cities with diverse attractions are able to provide more positive benefits for their residents and usually rank much better.


Taking Action

Cities that are engaged in making infrastructure improvements, livable public spaces, accessible healthy options and strong social networks are most likely to succeed, or move up in the standards for quality of life and well-being.

Healthways promotes the following "Best Practices to Improve Active Living in U.S. Communities" recommendations for community improvement:

-Adapt complete streets policy - streets that invite walking and biking in addition to cars and public transit.
-Active transportation plan - to include walking and biking with other priorities.
-Safe routes to school - making routes, including walking routes, safe and integrated into overall planning.
-Parking master plan - emphasizing downtown (city centers), and business and historic districts.
-Diverse housing options - for strong social networks and upward mobility without leaving the neighborhood or community.
-Parks and open space - improved with trees, gardens and green, ecologically sensible design.

All the recommendations are certainly beneficial for local populations and appealing to out-of-town visitors, as well.


While the Report on DFW Area Visitor Attractions is a more expansive look at visitor attractions (including local usability), its findings are very similar, in that cities people like to visit most, where institutions and attractions achieve very high visitor use, usually rank high in well-being and quality of life. The report generally makes the same case for community improvement and best utilization of cultural resources for visitor attractions, since those things make more active and healthier communities. Learn more:

Report Brief      Full Report



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