In an effort to fix the housing crisis and stimulate economic growth, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has teamed up with Urban Outfitters to announce the “Most Indie Places to Live in America.” For those late twenty-something hipsters overcrowding Allston, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon, please take notice, as we guide you on how to become even cooler than your friends—if that’s even possible.
9. Allen, SD: With a median household income just under $2,000 per year, Fort Thompson is the Amvets of American census-designated places. Do you remember that thrift store you started buying your clothes at before everyone else started buying their clothes there, too? This could be your new thrift store. Is there anything more hip than a lack of indoor plumbing? We think not.
8. Alaska: Hundreds of miles of unclaimed land, unlimited organic food, frigid temperatures, and four hours of sunlight per day make Alaska the hub of DIY culture. Just think. This is the place Fargo is based on. Well, sort of. As the least densely populated state in the country, living in Alaska would practically make you both Bon Iver and Russian, the most alternative of Eurasian ethnicities.
7. Austin, TX: Come on, we needed to add something to make this list seem authentic.
6. Los Angeles Subdivision, TX: This is what we really meant.
5. Montreal, CA: Now we know this technically isn’t America. But you have to admit, Montreal is a pretty hip city. You haven’t seen it? Well, what are you waiting for? After all, this is the city that Of Montreal named itself after. Think about it, you could go from a crowded city like New York to the crowded city of another country. You would be silly not to. Trust us. No, seriously. Trust us.
4. Shakespeare, NM: Ghost towns are indie. I think we all know that. But how would you like to become a mayor—no, how about governor or prime minister—of your own town? You could install the political philosophy of Che Guevara and make it mandatory to wear t-shirts bearing his likeness. In a town named for the most alternative 16century English playwright, you would become the envy in your circle of friends. Want to rename your town? Go ahead. Living in a ghost town is like Build-a-Bear Workshop. Serving on city council for Fox Searchlight-ville seems pretty postmodern to us.
3. Greenland: See Montreal.
2. The ocean: Both Atlantic and Pacific. It doesn’t really matter. Living on water is going to be the horn-rimmed glasses of the real estate market in the 2010s. By 2015, maritime communities are going to spurting up left and right and by 2020, they might not even be cool anymore. So why wait? With over 100 million unclaimed square-miles —and we are not talking about islands, which are totally not rad—the aquatic alternative lifestyle appears to be the next Brooklyn.
1. Detroit, MI: In a 2004 interview with Pitchfork, Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground is quoted saying that high-murder rates and even higher unemployment rates are “totally cool.” Don’t bother looking for the interview. It was never archived. As a city, Detroit is basically the epitome of indie-ness. Working in the auto industry is the new used bookstore/vegan pizzeria/modern art gallery, except much more hip. And don’t even get us started on housing. Do you want us to get started? Do you? Do you really? As long as you can pretend that there’s no difference between Chinese food and Pad Thai—though we admit that’s a tough thing to do—then Detroit is really the perfect place to raise your future hipsters and hipsterettes.