Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Fun After Dinner Game

Monocle published their annual most lovable cities index last month; a survey of the top 25 cities for quality of life. Before reading this, a few of us sat down with pens and paper at the ready and developed our own top 25 list. Monocle based their list on things like education, infrastructure, crime rate, sunshine, tolerance, environment, and a key reverse chain store test. The more chain stores, the less points.

Our point system was simple. If it was on Monocle’s list, you scored a point, and you scored a point if the city appeared on anyone else’s list.

The Monocle list has a bias towards Japan and Scandinavia, neither of which I find particularly attractive from a living scenario. They are also overly impressed with Swiss/German efficiency vs. Latin romance.

Monocle’s list is 1) Zurich, 2) Copenhagen, 3) Tokyo, 4) Munich, 5) Helsinki, 6) Stockholm, 7) Vienna, 8) Paris, 9) Melbourne, 10) Berlin, 11) Honolulu, 12) Madrid, 13) Sydney, 14) Vancouver, 15) Barcelona, 16) Fukuoka, 17) Oslo, 18) Singapore, 19) Montreal, 20) Auckland, 21) Amsterdam, 22) Kyoto, 23) Hamburg, 24) Geneva, 25) Lisbon.

Two notable omissions: Not a single Italian city made the list. This really reflects the lack of attention paid by Italian municipalities on the needs of their residents. Public transport remains a travesty and urban traffic is a nightmare. There ia also no mainland U.S. city, which I think is harsh when you think of San Francisco, the reborn New York, Boston, and emerging cities such as Boulder, etc.

The article is worth a read and the game is worth playing. For reference, my top ten was Auckland, Sydney, Dubai, Geneva, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Boulder, Barcelona, Rome, and Paris.