Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Second City Syndrome"

Urban Dictionary defines "second city syndrome":

When a smaller city talks down on a larger city due to insecurity of its own size and/or having less culture, music, art, employment. Usually this happens between two cities that are relatively close to one another.

Some great West Coast examples are Portland and Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

I would add Phoenix and Tucson. 

Having lived in both cities, I've noticed the extent to which Tucsonans regard Phoenix as the urban sprawl to the North, a bastion of ultra-conservative fanatics, a collection of growth maniacs and money-hungry barbarians, etc. 

Phoenicians, on the other hand, rarely think of Tucson at all. Many Phoenicians went to the University of Arizona and have fond memories of their student days. In my north Phoenix neighborhood, I often see U of A flags and insignia. 

I've yet to see any equivalent Arizona State University loyalties displayed in Tucson. Doing so would be regarded as a form of treason.

Is a second city syndrome present in your state?


Daniel Richwine said...

When I grew up in Birmingham Alabama, we had to define ourselves in relation to Atlanta. I know exactly what you mean.
Now in live in Philadelphia, and some who are native here similarly denigrate Mew York.

Michael Wade said...


Chicago is another place that often compares itself to New York City.

It's funny. I hear people in Tucson say "We don't want to become another Phoenix" and people in Phoenix say "We don't want to become another L.A."


Chad Wren said...

You just described Dallas and Fort Worth very accurately.

Michael Wade said...


Very interesting. I had not heard of that example.


CincyCat said...

Dayton & Cincinnati.

Michael Wade said...


I was unaware of that.