After amassing thousands of figures, used real-life examples to whittle down the list of best downtowns in mid-sized cities — including one in South Carolina.

The online researcher named Greenville No. 3 in its “Top 10 Best Downtowns, 2016.” Washington, D.C., suburb Alexandria, Va., placed first and Santa Monica, Calif., outside Los Angeles, came in second.

“Having a great downtown is about more than just great stores and great restaurants. A great downtown needs people,” says Matt Carmichael, editor of “Great cities need great spaces to gather. These cities and towns are wonderful places to get out and engage with your friends, family and other residents,” he says.

According to, there’s been a resurgence in America’s downtowns in the past few decades. The redevelopment is taking place both in some of the nation’s largest cities but also in smaller and mid-size towns. The smaller places “experiencing a renaissance,” it says, “are growing and thriving, offering expanded housing options, rising population, affordability, diversity and around-the-clock entertainment.” says its editors started with 2,000 small to mid-size cities then used figures from Esri mapping systems, the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture among others to pinpoint places with low vacancy rates, new development and an influx of people, as well as cultural attractions and nightlife. Then the editors quantified the cities’ rankings in affordability, diversity and walkability.

The final cut to the top 10 included editors’ research and experiences.

Other cities with top downtowns were Bellevue, Wash., No. 4; Pittsburgh, 5; Boise, Idaho, 6; Tempe, Ariz., 7; Plano, Texas, 8; Colorado Springs, 9; and Evanston, Ill, 10., a division of Journal Communications Inc., describes itself as a website focused on exploring “what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit.” Studied issues include cultural amenities, transportation, urban planning and sustainability.

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