The list of smaller cities attractive to creative individuals features an impressive number of Southern and Western cities, but interestingly enough we have Allentown, Pennsylvania at number 4, the city most of us know from Billy Joel's
Well we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line
Other than the fact that cities with lots of layers built over the top of one another are fascinating (especially if a layer or two are industrial), and probably that proximity to Philadelphia and New York is a good thing, what do we make of this? Joel Garreau's Edge City actually referred in passing to Allentown, along the lines of "Unemployment was dropping to 3 percent just as Billy Joel was writing the song". By the way, Edge City is easily the best book I have ever read on why American cities have developed the way they have, and is quite informative about why the American economy is the way it is in general. The book is now 12 years old, but exceptionally worth a read.