World's Best Cities?


Mercer's annual ranking of the world's "most liveable cities" is out. Vienna took the top spot. But Swiss cities do very well with Zurich and Geneva taking the second and third spots, with Bern in 9th.

Canada does well too - with Vancouver fourth, Toronto 15th, Ottawa 19th, Montreal 22nd and Calgary tied with Singapore for 26th.

Australia and New Zealand punch above their weight - Auckland is fifth, Sydney 10th, Wellington 12th, Melbourne 17th, Perth 21st, Adelaide 30th, and Brisbane 34th.

Germany has four cities in the top 20, Dusseldorf is sixth, Munich seventh, Frankfurt eighth, and Berlin 16th; plus, Nuremberg 23rd, Hamburg 28th, .

Scandinavian and Nordic cities do reasonably well - Copenhagen is 11th, Stockholm 20th, Oslo 24th, and Helsinki 30th .

The "Am-Brus-Twerp" mega-region has two top-20 cities - Amsterdam at 13th, and Brussels 14th.

Below are the top 20 and here is the full list:

For comparison purposes, here's my own list of the world's top 20 city-regions based on our measure of economic output - (which we term Light-based Regional Product or LRP) - derived from satellite images of the world at night.

Two things stand out.

First, the world's biggest city regions are not necessarily the "most liveable," at least according to the Mercer criteria. Tokyo is 35th on the Mercer rankings, London 38th, and NYC 49th just inching into the top 50 worldwide.

Second, American cities get creamed (again). Honolulu at 29th is the top-rated American city, followed by San Francisco 30th, Boston 35th, Portland 41st, D.C. and Chicago tied for 44th, New York 49th, and Seattle 50th. L.A. fails to make it into the top 50.

While I find such lists informative and fun, in my book Who's Your City, I say that there is really no such thing as a single best city:  Invoking the old and somewhat cliched adage, "different strokes for different folks," I argue the thing that really matters is to find location that best fits you.

So, how does this list jibe with your own list of the world's best cities? And, most of all, which city is the one that seems best for you?

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Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here
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