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Staver: Fast Company's DMC article underplays Rochester

An online article about Destination Medical Center released this week by Fast Company magazine has raised some eyebrows in the Rochester area.

The lengthy recap from Los Angeles-based writer Neal Ungerleider refers to Minnesota's third-largest city as "sleepy" and "small" while detailing "an audacious 20-year plan" that's a "real-life version of SimCity." In closing, Ungerleider characterizes the $6.5 billion collaboration between Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic as a "Dubai-style grab at wholesale city engineering that hasn't been seen stateside since the 1960s."

"Blueprints are being made, politicians are cutting deals, and, if plans hold, a small city will double its population in just 20 years," Ungerleider writes. "It remains to be seen how happy and healthy all those new residents of Rochester turn out to be."

Rochester City Council President Randy Staver said he had no real issues with the article, but feels the article downplayed the city and was "a little bit harsh" in its language. However, he says it's typical for a non-local journalist to "not pick up on the (city's) flavor."

"We feel like we're a strong economic center," Staver said. "Did they underplay it? I suppose, but not to the point where I'm going to get too upset about it.


"We see articles like this day in and day out, especially articles that are non-local. I think they miss some of the nuances that we are much more familiar with, so I let a lot of those comments sort of slide off."

Ungerleider goes on to claim that DMC isn't just about transforming a city because "it's also about securing a megahospital's revenue stream in the face of huge industry changes," referring to President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede declined comment this morning because he'd not yet read the story, and DMC EDA Executive Director Lisa Clarke did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

The next DMC Corp. meeting is 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Mayo Civic Center.

Fast Company, which was created in 1995, touts itself as the world's leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design. Ungerleider is described as a reporter "covering the intersection of future technology and everyday life."

DMCC meeting is Thursday

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