Birmingham earned its Magic City moniker as a booming steel city in the late 19th century, but lately the magic comes from the city’s transformation as a dining mecca and urban renewal hotspot – and UAB is right in the middle of it.
In just the first six months of 2013, Birmingham has been featured as an up-and-coming city for its economy, city parks, entertainment, food and more by National Geographic Traveler magazine, Forbes, Zagat and the Associated Press in a story that ran on national news websites across the country, including those for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
On June 17 Birmingham received one of 10 All-America City Awards by the National Civic League "for outstanding civic accomplishments" that "demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges."
Accolades have also poured in for Railroad Park, the new Region’s Field, the Alabama Theatre and the Sidewalk Film Festival. The Today Show and Jetsetter.com named Birmingham one of the hot places to visit in 2013. Alabama also shows up profiled in Delta’s Sky magazine.
“Birmingham is on a hot streak,” said James H. Smither, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau president. “There’s never been a more exciting time to be here, thanks to great relationships between the business, civic, cultural and academic communities.”
“Birmingham’s economy has been made strong by medical innovation happening at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, through research, education and patient care,” said Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the region’s leading economic development agency. “UAB is at the center of our thriving seven-county region and the knowledge there is truly changing the world.”
“We are proud of our city, and we are glad to be a part of Birmingham’s renaissance,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., interim senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at UAB. “The best part of all these new opportunities is that most of them are within a short walk of the UAB campus.”
UAB stretches across nearly 90 blocks of downtown Birmingham’s Southside under Vulcan's watchful eye. Railroad Park and Region’s Field are just six blocks from the School of Medicine’s main building, Volker Hall, and are even closer to UAB Hospital.
Secondary education also has caught some attention. In the 2013 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools rankings, five of the top-10 Alabama high schools are in the Birmingham area, including gold-medal winner Mountain Brook.
The city’s popularity is important to UAB, Agarwal said, as the School of Medicine aims to recruit new faculty from around the country. “People need to know that Birmingham is a sophisticated city, that our schools are stellar and our standard of living is high, while the cost of living is very affordable,” he said.
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