Quantifying a the cleanliness of an entire city seems like it would pose a challenge. Do you count the number of discarded Taco Bell cups? Analyze shower head sales? Perform a census of head lice? There are countless factored to be considered if you are to get a solid grasp of how tidy a city is.
Somehow, the wizard's at Travel & Leisurehave done it. They just finished compiling a highly scientific, undoubtedly peer-reviewed list of the country's 20 dirtiest cities.
The magazine writes, by way of introduction:
The cities that scraped the bottom of the cleanliness category may show signs of grit, grime, or muck, but they all have some basic features in common: they're big, and most have a bustling nightlife. Partiers tend to be on the younger side -- and that may add to the disarray. "Studies have consistently found that youths and young adults are the most prone, or willing, to litter," says Steve Spacek, author of the "American State Litter Scorecard," which has highlighted the less-than-pristine conditions in such top 20 cities as New Orleans, Chicago, and Las Vegas.
Dallas/Fort Worth (which someone should tell T&L is actually two cities), is veritably crawling with dirty young people and comes in at No. 7. That means we're cleaner than New York and New Orleans but considerably filthier than Houston (No. 10), San Antonio (No.16) and every single other place in Texas, none of which made the list.
And what makes Dallas so dirty? Is it the burning feeling you get in your lungs on summer afternoons? The fetid West Nile ponds? The giant dump the Cowboys took on football fans last week? T&L offers only this:
According to data, the Dallas area may have less of an ozone problem than Houston, but it still leapfrogged over its fellow Texas city and into the Dirtiest 10 this year. Perhaps voters didn't find enough green space: the cities ranked last for their public parks. Locals here may prefer ballparks instead -- these Texans also ranked in the top 10 for being sports-crazed.
The ranking may seem like bad news, but this could really turn into a positive rebranding opportunity. Something like "Dallas: Smells Better than Bourbon Street." The tourists will come in droves.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.