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Atlanta: America's nerdiest city | Community Spirit

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Atlanta: America's nerdiest city
Atlanta: America's nerdiest city

ATLANTA -- Meredith Placko's closet isn't about clothes. Instead, it's about an identity. The racks contain many of the essential ingredients for a life she lives proudly as a nerd.

"The whole world is kind of embracing the geek chic concept," said Placko, a blogger and freelance TV producer.

It starts with Dragon*Con, the annual downtown Atlanta sci-fi nerdfest that cinched Placko's decision to move here from south Florida three years ago. Dragon*Con helped vault Atlanta to the top of a list of America's nerdiest cities, according to a real estate site.

PHOTOS | Dragon*Con 2012

"It's really nice to be in a place where I don't have to hide the fact that I collect figures and have all these comic books -- like probably over 1,500 comic books," said Placko, who blogs under the pseudonym Ana Aesthetic.

She got many of her comics at stores like Oxford Books and Criminal Records -- which requires the customer to vault through its sizable comics section before reaching its music bins.

"Nerdiness is just having a big deep passion for whatever it is you're into," said Lillian Hughes, manager at Criminal Records. Hughes said it's no surprise Atlanta is getting recognized as America's nerd capital.

Atlanta's abundance of bookstores and video game stores, plus a nearby annual Renaissance festival kept the city ahead of nerdy competitors like Portland and Seattle. A curious acronym called LARP also helps Atlanta --- which stands for "live action role playing." It's not really Placko's thing.

"I think the LARP people are in their own little world, and they go into the forest and they dress up and they beat each other up with foam swords and then they come back. It's really awesome," she mused.