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Austin is keeping it weird — and so should we

My colleague, Maria Saporta, recently visited Houston with a group of civic leaders and reported on that sprawling megalopolis beside which we often measure ourselves. Today we'll take a less formal look at another Texas city to which we need to pay attention.

If Houston is your uncle who got rich developing shopping centers back in the '80s, Austin is your nephew who just made a fortune on an Internet startup.

Until recently, the Texas capital's explosive growth has been overshadowed by its neighbors, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. But in this year's Forbes listing of the fastest growing cities in the country, it elbowed past its Texas rivals to take the No. 1 spot. And it's quality growth: Austin was the only U.S. city to make a 2010 ranking of the world's most dynamic cities, based on growth in employment and income.

Austin may still cultivate a small-town image, but the metro area passed a fateful milestone over the weekend, when its telephone service was shifted to a 10-digit dialing system.
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