most liveable cities

by Juan on March 30, 2007

Hyper-connected to the rest of the world through an ample offering of long-haul flights, low crime rates, great education and health system, fair balance of sunny and warm days, plenty of ways to stay informed, availability of drinks after hours, good public transit, lots of green areas and a will to keep them green. This is the method behind the first Monocle Quality of Life Index.

For international flight connections it would be Paris but for an airport it would have to be Munich. On crime it would be a Japanese city – either Tokyo or Kyoto would do. Zürich and Helsinki would be our key contributors for hospitals and schools while Sydney and Honolulu offer the best weather. […] For a good night out we’d want to be resident in Madrid, Tokyo or Barcelona and for getting home we’d opt for Munich’s public transport and Copenhagen’s bike network if we were sober enough to pedal home ourselves.

With a well documented rating behind each one of the cities in the list, it is going to be hard to argue that they’ve done their homework, but it still feels very subjective. In any case, kudos to the top 10 cities:

  1. Munich, Germany
  2. A winning combination of investment in infrastructure, high-quality housing, low crime, liberal politics, strong media and general feeling of Gemütlichkeit make it a city that should inspire others.

  3. Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. There’s no shame coming second, particularly when phase two of your new metro is about to go live, your airport is a joy, you can bike safely through the city and you have so many stunning residents.

  5. Zürich, Switzerland
  6. for being one of the best-connected, best endowed, safest and easiest to navigate cities in the world […] run one of the most high-frequency public transports networks in the world and boast a bathing culture that sees the trimmest bodies at Bank Julius Bar strip off at lunch for a cooling plunge in tis mountain-water-fed lake.

  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Integrated transport, breathtaking technology, great service and the best bars make this our top big city.

  9. Vienna, Austria
  10. famous for its rich cultural heritage, also has a progressive eco-friendly municipal government.

  11. Helsinki, Finland
  12. What’s lost in the winter darkness is replaced by great cultural and sporting outlets, Stockmann’s bookstore and a good music scene.

  13. Sydney, Australia
  14. The city has some environmental issues and an antiquated trasnport system. But then there’s the beach…

  15. Stockholm, Sweden
  16. An eye for detail, good street style and strong public services make this a pleasant place to build a nest.

  17. Honolulu, United States
  18. Bridging the oceanic gap between California and Asia, Honolulu now fits the definition of a global city – a palm-fringed metropolis with a population as diverse as its flora.

  19. Madrid, Spain
  20. Red tape and poor infrastructure are counterbalanced by cultural vibrancy and a 24-hour lifestyle

Melbourne, Montreal, Barcelona, Kyoto, Vancouver, Auckland, Singapore, Hamburg, Paris & Geneva follow the leaders with their own advantages in this ranking, which along the rest of the magazine does a lot to uncover great urban experiences.

I’ve posted other rankings that measure cities against each other and Monocle’s approach is certainly interesting but with the growing global awareness many of the advantages that some of these cities hold will soon be replicated and enjoyed in tandem by citizens of most global cities. Perhaps it is the article Good Hood found in the pages that follow the ranking that offers a greater insight as to what makes a true liveable city: plenty of neighborhoods with the diversity and vibrancy to keep their inhabitants satisfied with a range of local world-class services. For all other goods of life you can always aspire to your next adventure abroad.

Thanks to Slava for recommending the magazine. It is a great discovery.

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{ 1 comment }

Manuel July 31, 2007 at 11:05 am

I am sure these cities would be the top ten in infrastructure, cultural life, even leisure, but I seriously doubt they will be ‘livable’. The cost of life in several of these will be an impediment for enjoying a lot of the treats, and in cases like Tokyo, the population density and traffic would also be a concern. Also, the eagerness of the native population to accept immigrants will have to be seriously consider; having some experience with Z√ºrich and Tokyo, I know you will never really feel at home there unless you were born there.

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