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Shouldn't a best-cities-in-the-world list include New York and London?

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on June 9, 2008

Copenhagen topped the list of the world’s best cities, according to London-based lifestyle magazine Monocle. But what surprised me is that the list, which measures quality of life, skipped over London and New York (both tops on my list). Interestingly, the magazine chose to include two U.S. cities — Honolulu and Minneapolis — and not more obvious choices such as Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or San Francisco.

What would your list include?

This is what London’s The Independent said about the list.

Cities usually considered big-hitters were notable in their absence. Neither New York nor London – which was lambasted by philosopher and writer Alain de Botton for its “bland” developments – made it into the 20 featured locations. To be thus neglected by Monocle magazine, which since it was set up 18 months ago by the Wallpaper* founder Mr Brûlé, has established itself as the observer of things cool and contemporary, will come as a shock to both cities.

Here were the winners:

Best cities for quality of life
1 Copenhagen
2 Munich
3 Tokyo
4 Zürich
5 Helsinki
6 Vienna
7 Stockholm
8 Vancouver
9 Melbourne
10 Paris
11 Sydney
12 Honolulu
13 Madrid
14 Berlin
15 Barcelona
16 Montreal
17 Fukuoka
18 Amsterdam
19 Minneapolis
20 Kyoto
*Best global city : Paris
*Best business city: Madrid
*Best cultural city: Berlin
*Best design city: Copenhagen
*Best retail city: Fukuoka

Reader Comments


June 9, 2008 6:59 PM

Minneapolis is a mediocre city with foul weather. Its presence tends to negate any notion of credibility.

Fazal Majid

June 9, 2008 9:56 PM

The omission of London is interesting because Monocle is based there, in the uber-fashionable Marylebone neighborhood.

I am quite surprised that San Francisco and Seattle did not make the cut, despite being two of the most livable cities in the US. Istanbul, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur are also notable in their absence. And yet boring wastelands like Fukuoka or Munich make the cut? Please...

Jonathan Blackwell

June 9, 2008 10:17 PM

Where the heck are NY and London? Where is Prague for that matter? How the heck did Minneapolis make the list?


June 10, 2008 5:11 PM

I live in London at the moment, and I love the place. It's impossible to get bored!


June 26, 2008 10:46 AM

Minneapolis is fabulous. You should try living here and you'll understand what I mean. Quality of life is not measured by the weather. We are one of the top three markets for theater in the U.S., not to mention our incredible dance companies and museums. We are also rated as one of the powerhouses for creative thinking, as we house one of the largest markets of advertising, marketing, graphic design and PR. Target started here. So did Medtronic. We are caring, and provide support for people in need. We are adaptable and are currently constructing two sports stadiums and a great public transportation system.


September 5, 2008 7:32 PM

Hey!Seoul is number 7


October 5, 2008 3:07 AM

As a midwesterner (never been to Minneapolis) I can vouch for the people being generally pretty friendly and good hearted.
I've always wanted to go to Minne cause i've never heard anything bad about it. Also- for the weather- the city has one of the most extensive skyways systems out there. Also, when it is nice, I know that the park system is one of the best in the country. Lots of lakes. Can you say pond hockey?


October 15, 2008 12:43 PM

A lot of westerners make the mistake of equating bigger with better, which is why NYC and London are at the ready when discussing big cities.

It's an easy trap to fall into but indicative of small thinking.


November 14, 2008 4:20 PM

I've got to say that the people who chose the citites were artsy fartsys who wear really tight jeans I think new York is the best city in the world most people won't agree but the 30 million in the tri state area will think about it Paris and new York are the two most famous and recognized cities in the world I've been to other countrys I tell them in American and the first thing they say is are you from new York new York is the center of the world economically and the world wide symbol of prosperity and human enginuity have you ever seen the sky line from new jersey? It is a gigantic range of manmade mountains in progress there's nothing like the feeling of the honking of cabs and screeching of brakes and the feeling of new York


December 2, 2008 11:25 PM



December 2, 2008 11:31 PM

If you can speak Japanese and have a little bit of money, then any major city in Japan has my vote for "most liveable". In fact, I'd put Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Hiroshima in my top 10 along with Zurich and Vancouver.

Granted, if you can't speak Japanese and can't afford the cost of living, you'll have a hell of a time in these places. But I can all but guarantee you will never be a victim of violent crime or intimidation, and people still possess the virtues of politeness and respect.

Michael W Williams

February 6, 2009 10:16 PM

I live in LA, so I'm not biased when I ask...

Why the hell is Sydney NOT number 1??! I have traveled a bit, and the Emerald City is the finest on the planet, IMHO.

Chris Desouza

February 9, 2009 9:40 PM

Hey, forgot to include Newark. Wasssap!


May 4, 2009 6:55 PM

I have been to Tokyo, Paris, Stockholm, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Amsterdam, Brussels, Minneapolis, Honolulu, etc...


LONDON and VIENNA are by far the two coolest, greatest, most fun to be at cities in the world.

I have no idea how Minneapolis made this list, i mean its a nice city but it is nothing special.


May 24, 2009 12:09 PM

Where the hell is London?
Its the coolest place on the planet.
NYC comes close but LONDON TOWN is the capital of the world!


September 26, 2009 6:13 PM

London is the capital of the world actually.


November 4, 2009 9:31 AM

I've lived in London for 4 years now and I love it but I can honestly say that New York is the best city I have ever been to and probably the best place in the whole world. I wish I had moved there instead!

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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