The Quality of Life list was launched two years ago by Tyler Brule, founder of Wallpaper* magazine, as part of his new “baby” – Monocle – a lifestyle and global design magazine.
Whereas Vancouver and Melbourne are often featured at the top of many lists, this is not one of them, with European cities being more heavily featured at the top, and clearly Brule has a love of all city’s Scandinavian (with perhaps good reason!).
There are of course a number of rankings (such as those by The Economist) produced each year which pronounce the world’s top cities.
Generally, they all have slightly different criteria, but equally it’s often the same cities that are featured.
Monocle’s Quality of Life ranking, looks not simple at the standard livability measures, for instance the cost of housing and infrastructure but also seeks to go one step further but suggesting what factors truly make a city great.
This obviously involves aesthetics and beauty as well as safety and efficiency.
The full ranking for Monocle’s Quality of Life 2009 is:
1. Zurich (below)
2. Copenhagen (below)
3. Tokyo (below)
4. Munich (below)
5. Helsinki (below)
6. Stockholm (below)
7. Vienna (below)
8. Paris (below)
9. Melbourne (below)
10. Berlin (below)
11. Honolulu (below)
12. Madrid (below)
13. Sydney (below)
14. Vancouver (below)
15. Barcelona (below)
16. Fukuoka (below)
17. Oslo (below)
18. Singapore (below)
19. Montreal (below)
20. Auckland (below)
21. Amsterdam (below)
23. Hamburg (below)
24. Geneva (below)
25. Lisbon (below)
So, a few comments on the “report card”:
Melbourne: must do more about its urban sprawl and fix its “buckling” transport system. On the other hand, the city nurtures its entrepreneurial brands, has a thriving cultural life, values its distinct neighbourhoods and exudes self confidence.
Sydney: is blessed by nature and has a lifestyle and restaurant scene which puts the rest of the world to shame. On the other hand, the state government brings a new meaning to the word “incompetent” that manages to suffocate every opportunity that sweeps the city.
Zurich this year edged out last year’s winner Copenhagen.
Notably, none of the cultural or fashion meccas Milan, New York or London are featured in this years Top 25.
Perhaps the notable ommissions are Italian cities, which whilst stunning in some positive ways, are a stunning symbol for inefficient bureacracies and make Sydney’s transport system look great!
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH
I’m fortunate to have visited every city on this list, and think that Tyler Brule’s come up with a pretty compelling report. The list tends to place a greater emphasis on style than substance, which is why there are a few clear omissions.
In saying that, it gives me a good reason to come up with the Marquette Turner City list very soon!
Feel free to comment and let me know of any serious omissions in this list, or any general thoughts you have!