Seattle, the city that sprawls across seven hills, is Fast Company's city of the year for 2009. A visit to the city last month reminded me of all the reasons it was chosen. The car rental agency at the airport handed me the smart key to a Toyota Prius—the first time I'd ever been offered a hybrid from a rental agency. After a day at Microsoft's TechFest—a science fair for the company's research divisions—I visited a couple of recent transplants from New York City. One is an E.R. doc at the biggest hospital in the city, and when I asked her to compare Seattle with her experience working at one in Brooklyn, New York, she told me, "More snowmobile accidents here, and fewer gunshot wounds."
But don't hold that against N.Y.C., home to the most successful local counterterrorism unit in the U.S. and perhaps the world. It's among the 12 other cities on our honor roll, along with Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Malmö, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Taipei, Tucson, and Vancouver. These cities are improving neighborhoods, transforming lives, and helping build better, faster cities for the future. And you can read all about them here, and add your stories to the ongoing conversations about each city.