Charleston has No. 2 downtown in U.S.

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Livability.com, a website that highlights small to mid-sized American communities, placed Charleston at No. 2 on its Top 10 Downtowns 2012 list.

The list was based on factors including economic growth, unemployment, downtown vacancy rates, distances between homes and downtown, and average income levels. The list was also based on whether towns were prepared to succeed in the "experience economy." The article explains:

In this new experience economy, people will value most the memories a place creates above its other qualities, so a downtown's activities, aesthetics and overall atmosphere will be more important than ever. With that in mind, we set out to identify downtowns especially poised to offer the best experiences to residents and visitors, show signs of economic growth, and have community leaders with clear plans for continued improvement to these districts.

The article praises downtown Charleston's walkable historic district, world-famous restaurants, festivals, and nearby beaches. Longtime Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. and the Office of Cultural Affairs also get a nod.

Charleston came in second place behind Fort Collins, Colo.

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