I find it surprising that no one’s responded to Cinncy, considering OC’s design presence.
Cincinnati is located in south_western_ Ohio. Having grown up adjacent to it, in south_eastern_ Indiana, I can say that from a cultural point of view you would be moving your family into a relatively conservative area. Folks tend to support each other, and traditional family values are strong. Cinncinati supports many museums, a world class zoo, and a symphony orchestra if those can be used as a measure of a community (which I believe they can).
The weather patterns in the Ohio River Valley tend to be all over the place; some winters colder than hell, others it might be shirt sleeve weather on Christmas morning. This year… . I’ve always considered southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, leading down to the Ohio River, to be the beginning (foothills) of the Applachians. Unlike the flat northern areas of these states. Beautiful terrain.
As far as other “statistics”; crime, taxes, school system particulars I really can’t help you much. Do you know any IDSA guys in the
There is a Southern Ohio Chapter of IDSA…
I’d move to Cinncy. Not at all “typical” of Midwest cities.
I’ve only been a few times for clients. Seems like a great place to raise kids. Small mid western city. If your looking at P&G,they have a. Very good internal design community. I always thought of Cinci as quintessentially American. Chilli, football, classic Americana. If you love those things, chances are you’ll love it. There are some nice examples of Deco architecture downtown. Maybe the possibility of teaching a class at UC?
I’m someone who moved form Los Angeles to Cincinnati (for school), and I will say it’s… very, very different. Like Lmo said, it is very conservative, and everyone really values family traditions. The weather here is very schizophrenic (a word a lot of people describe it as), In the winter it might be in the low 20’s, and the next day the high 60’s (though winters are usually pretty cold- it started snowing this year the day after Thanksgiving).
In terms of crime- don’t live near UC. It is in/near a terrible, terrible neighborhood, Over the Rhine (UC is in clifton, which also isn’t the greatest or safest). Over the Rhine is one of the most violent neighborhoods in America- I’ve heard some statistics saying that 25% of it’s residents have been involved or the victim of a violent crime. However, it is a pretty cool place to visit, with some neat shops and cool architecture. Like any big city, there are a few other areas I would avoid, but the rest of it is pretty nice ( I don’t really know the names of the neighborhoods). A lot of houses are very old, and the city is very proud of it’s history as one of the first, and more important industrial centers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (When I first got out there, at least 5 separate people told me the history of cincy and how important it was).
In terms of public transportation- a while ago (more then 10 years), they tried building a subway system to connect the city, and they failed miserable due to politics and budgets, but it left behind a huge network of useless tunnels. Now, there is a huge push to build a streetcar system, and, at least from what I can tell, that will probably happen sometime in the next few years. Until then, there are busses, but they aren’t the most efficient. I would recommend a car for most transportation however.
In terms of schools- I’ve really only heard a lot about high schools in the area, but cincinnati is HUGE on high school football. Like, they sell out the UC football stadium for a game between St Xavier high school and Elder high school (two private high schools a lot cincinnatians have attended, and they’ve had a rivalry since forever). The public high school system is not good- almost everyone I know from Cincinnati was in some type of private school, and said they avoided the public schools as they are particularly bad. Most graduates stay in Ohio, applying to OSU, UC and Miami University of Ohio or Dayton University (their reputation as good schools is in that order).
There are a few notable design companies that come to my head- Kaleidoscope, Jack Rouse Associates, and Proctor and Gamble. There are also quite a few smaller design companies started by DAAP grads, and almost all their work is for Proctor and Gamble, as P&G is probably the largest employer in the area.
The Southern Ohio chapter of IDSA is pretty active- http://www.idsa.org/content/panel/southern-ohio-chapter - I would contact Demetrius if you have any questions about IDSA and/or Cincinnati. They have an event called “Third thursdays” where they meet up on the third thursday of every month at a bar/resturant. I’ve never been able to go, but it looks like a lot of fun. They also just had their holiday party, which was sponsored by quite a few of the local design companies, so they had some great prizes/presents to give away.
That’s what I can think of right now, if you have any more questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them!
Was holding off throwing in my student perspective two cents to see if any professionals working in Cincy would chime in first.
I went to high school in Milford, a suburb 25 mins outside of Cincy, then lived in Chicago for 4 years and have been in Clifton for the last 3 years attending DAAP.
I’ve heard some say that downtown Cincinnati has more designers/square mile than any other city in the US… don’t quote me on that but as ineo pointed out there are a lot of design firms, with most feeding off of P&G business. A couple more big design employers are LPK, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Landor, and Frontgate.
As a place to raise a family I definitely think Cincinnati is a great place, most of the suburbs outside of the city are really family friendly, if you don’t mind a 20-30 minute commute (maybe 40 mins in bad traffic) then you would definitely have a lot of affordable options. Sharonville, Fairfield, Mason, Loveland are all nice options that you could look into. If you’re looking to move closer to the city Hyde Park is really nice, but expensive, as is Mt Adams. The gaslight district of Clifton is really nice as well. Cost of living is really low, 50K in Cincy is the equivalent of 74K in Hackettstown NJ http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=50000&city1=53915000&city2=53428710
If you don’t mind driving everywhere, and you can put up with every local trying to convince you that Chilli is some sort of mystery meat, cinnnamon, chocolate, spagetti, shredded cheese concoction (that has NO actual Chili powder or Chili peppers!), then Cincinnati is a cool place
Cincinnati is all about BRAND right now, tons of conversations at DAAP about how UC can become a leading educator in Branding. There is a lot of energy and excitement behind the initiative, so if branding is your thing I definitely think in the long term there would be some great opportunities to teach as an adjunct if that’s something you’re interested in.
I too was hoping that some professionals would chime in before I gave my take on it. Since my view revolves around the campus experience. But I do know a lot of kids who grew up in the area.
As much as I hate to say it, Cincinnati isn’t that bad of a city. Downtown for the most part is just ok, nothing terribly special. But I’m biased towards larger cities. But it does have a few nice areas and things to see. Right by the Arnoff Arts Center (convention center) is very nice area. There a couple of nice restaurants, art galleries ( Shepard Fairey had a show there recently). Ice rink in the winter all that fun jazz. Also both the Bengals and Reds stadium are located downtown too.
The city is fairly condensed. Coming from Dallas were everything is a 45minutes to an hour away. There are some nice neighborhoods all around. Two that pop right into my head are Hyde Park and West Chester. Also a few of my classmates lived in Sycamore, which is a nice area to also look into and fairly close to Downtown.
Schooling system is pretty good once you hit the suburbs. But as Matt pointed out there are some very nice private schools. Saint X and Elder for guys and Ursaline Academy for girls. I’m sure there are others as well. But those are the big ones.
There’s also an IKEA close by and everyone loves IKEA.
Guess I’m a little late to the discussion but I saw Cincinnati in the title and got excited. Having graduated from the design program at UC I don’t have anything but great things to say about the place. I like Cincinnati, its definitely got a unique urban atmosphere that I haven’t see anywhere else. I would think it’s a good place to raise a family, the cheap cost of living will be a nice surprise for you, should you choose to live there, (at one point I was paying $200 for rent). The design community there while obviously smaller than places like Boston or New York, is highly recognized due to the DAAP program and they are always welcome to outside professionals coming to student critiques (also a great way to see how the profession is changing itself). Two things I would definitely recommend would be the Skyline chili on Clifton and Ludlow and the Findley Market downtown on Saturdays and Sundays. Hope that helps somehow.
UC grad here and big fan of Cincinnati. There’s a huge design community there and lots of opportunity for a good designer. Also Skyline…mmmmm… definitely Skyline, followed by Graeter’s ice cream. It’s a great place to live. Good luck with your decision!
I feel a little late to this discussion too, but thought I would add my two cents as I was born and raised in Cincinnati, and then went to UC to study industrial design.
The cost of living, whether you choose to live in the 'burbs or the city, is dramatically lower than anything you would find in bigger cities like New York, Boston, and LA. Cincinnati is really compelling because there is a growing push for people to live downtown, and more and more good options are popping up. Depending on the status of your family (do you have kids yet? do they need to be home alone a lot?), you might find living downtown to be a really good option. There are a ton of cool local bars (Neon’s Unplugged and MOTR) and independent businesses(Park+Vine, Atomic Number Ten, and Fork Heart Knife) popping up all over the place, including the often misunderstood Over the Rhine neighborhood (OTR.) Just like any other city, crime can be mostly avoided if you practice common sense.
If you live closer to the city center, bicycling is a valid means of transportation. There are hills and stupid people in cars, but distance wise it is quick and easy to go between Hyde Park/Clifton/downtown. The city has been slowly but surely putting in more bike lanes, and the culture overall is growing. Depending on where you are looking into working, it might still be a good idea to have a car. The bus system can be unreliable at times, and there is no car sharing system (like zipcar) in place yet.
Cincinnati has a ton of history, and Cincinnatians tend to have a lot of pride about their city. ‘I LOVE CINCINNATI’ bumper stickers are pretty common and can be seen downtown as well as in the suburbs. There are lots of annual events to keep you busy (including Oktoberfest, Bock Fest, and the Taste of Cincinnati, to name a few) and two professional sports teams. Many concert tours stop in Cincinnati, and- particularly for smaller ‘indie’ bands- it can be a great place to hear music with less of a crowd than you would find in other cities.
I could go on and on, but basically, its a good place to raise a family and a nice city to live in. If you don’t take the job, pass it on- I’ll take it!!