by Jodi Summers

The residents of Santa Monica tend to think they live in their own little self-contained city, with its own government, business economy, water supply and elitest real estate process.

Those on the outside of the “Republic of Santa Monica” see this city by the sea – with a daytime population of 250,000 and a nighttime population of 90,000 residents as a suburb of Los Angeles. The website has, rather curiously, named Santa Monica one of the 10 smartest suburbs in America. Check out the top 10 list and we’ll dialogue further…

1. Santa Monica, CA

2. Evanston, IL

3. Berkeley, CA

4. Cambridge, MA

5. Towson, MD

6. Cupertino, CA

7. Scottsdale, AZ

8. Newton, MA

9. Seal Beach, CA

10. Alameda, CA

Movoto defined a suburb as any large population center near one of the nation’s 50 largest cities, and factored in whether or not the place was called a suburb on Wikipedia, in the list of inner-ring suburbs, or in any official capacity. Wikipedia defines a suburb as,”A residential area or a mixed use area, either existing as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city.”

The methodology involved collecting data for 109 different suburbs using business listings,, and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. Then, they were ranked from 1 to 109 in the following criteria:

Colleges and universities per capita

Public libraries per capita

Museums per capita

Percentage of students with bachelor’s degrees or higher

High school graduation rate rating (based on test scores for the area)

We averaged these rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, where the lowest score was the best and brightest suburb, none other than Santa Monica.

Smartest Suburbs in America

1. Santa Monica, CA

Sure, we’ve got our beach and our pier, and real estate prices that average around $2,000,000 for a single family home, but did you realize that Santa Monica has the sixth most museums per capita out of all 109 places? It also ranked 10th overall for the percentage of its population who have bachelor’s degrees or higher (64.5 percent) and 11th for the number of nearby colleges and universities per capita. Bravo to us…

Here’s the big list:

To find out about all the other smart suburbs, go here…






Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. America’s brainiest city? According to the personal finance resource site WalletHub — it’s Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  2. “Smart cities” prioritize green buildings techniques, entrepreneurship, societal inclusiveness, mixed-modal transportation access, governmental transparency and overall safety, among other things.

    The city topping this list was Boston, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering the brainpower housed in the city’s litany of higher education institutions.

  3. Seattle leads the pack in Smart Economy and Smart Government rankings while coming in second behind Washington, D.C. in the Smart People category. Seattle is also home to lots of sustainability innovation and the home to the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, one of the world’s leading master’s program dedicated to sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. Sustainable Seattle and Climate Solutions are good examples of local organizations focused on promoting sustainable development. Aside from Sustainable Seattle’s core projects and indicator work, they also spun out an initiative called the Happiness Initiative, which aims to measure the level of local happiness, something I consider to be a core objective of smart city programs.

    Seattle is also a quality hub for startups and is one of the only North American cities with more than 1,000 open data sets which are offered for transparency but also to support the growth of startups and introduction of mobile apps to improve mobility and quality of life in the city. In the 2012 publication of the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, Seattle’s entrepreneurial ecosystem was ranked fourth in the world. Part of this ranking, and one of the reasons Seattle achieved No. 1 position in this Smart Cities ranking is due to its ability to attract creative and entrepreneurial talent.

  4. Let’s analyze this in the microcosm of the Today show. Would you say Santa Monica High School grad Carson Daly is smarter than weatherman Al Roker?
    Al’s got that unbeatable lightening wit.

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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
Sotheby’s International Realty

Jodi Summers Bio

With $100,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi Summers understands the coastal commercial real estate market. A top producer with Sotheby’s International Realty, Jodi knows finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. She is accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California.

Jodi is born in Brooklyn, raised in and around Manhattan – the family business was marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a palm tree and a hibiscus bush in her yard.
She thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. One of her books, “Marking and Marketing Music,” is in second edition.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

Her team joined Sotheby’s International Realty for the company’s powerful brand and stellar reputation.
“We offer the broad market knowledge needed to assist clients in formulating a sound acquisition strategy,” Jodi amplifies. “Together, we evaluate various markets, property types and neighborhoods to devise a customized approach that meets each client’s specific objectives.”

Jodi is a member of the Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Ocean Park Association, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club of L.A., and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. Members of her team are fluent in Spanish and Italian.

“Our reputation assures your satisfaction.”


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