If you're going where the lights are bright these days, you may not be heading downtown. "Edge cities"--typically, new areas where 24,000 or more jobs are concentrated outside traditional downtowns--are expanding rapidly, according to data compiled by Strategic Mapping Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif. Comparing 189 edge cities with 38 major urban downtowns, the data show:
-- Downtowns have an edge in jobs: 22 of the top 40 job centers are downtowns. But each of the top 18 edge cities has more jobs than downtown Pittsburgh.
-- The 13 richest urban areas are all edge cities, led by the Bishop Ranch area east of San Francisco Bay, Great Neck on Long Island, and the I-270 corridor north of Washington.
-- Small companies thrive in edge cities: The 10 areas with the highest concentration of companies with fewer than 50 employees are all edge cities.
-- Edge cities are fun. When areas are ranked by the number of restaurants, drinking establishments, and nightclubs per employee, edge cities hold 8 of the top 10 spots on each list.