What makes a great city?

THIS IS WHERE, I have to admit, I ran out of ideas. So naturally I’m handing the pen – or rather keyboard – to you and wanted to get a discussion going. As tourists, what makes the perfect city?

A recent survey by Ipsos Mori (see the link below) had a look at just that. A selection of twenty-four countries ranked their top three cities in which they think it’s best to do business, to live and to visit. Most countries are (unsurprisingly) a little bit biased towards their own cities, but there are some clear winners: New York City emerges as the best city overall and it appears in the top five of all the categories, Scandinavian cities prove popular to live in and while Paris ranks very well overall, particularly as a tourist destination, it doesn’t seem to stand tall with the Big Apple or Asian megacities as a place to do business. I’m sure the French government are delighted about that.

But as interesting as it is to see the countries’ attitudes towards themselves and others, it’s such a subjective thing anyway, so we have to take this and any similar poll with a pinch of salt. We’ve all got images of what makes the ‘ideal’ city, and that’s why I want to know. New York fared very well across the board, as we know, but I know lots of people who’d hate to live there. Similarly, I’m surprised Los Angeles ranked above Amsterdam or Barcelona as a better place to visit, and on that note – I’m not sure everyone will agree that Mecca is an ideal holiday destination (which is what Saudi Arabia thought)…

So what do you think of the results? Do you agree that New York is deservedly the world’s best city? Which city would you love to live in? And which city do you think should be avoided as a tourist?  This little discussion could work, or could dry up like a city in Death Valley, but have a look at the results and let the world know what you think.


City Montage


2 thoughts on “What makes a great city?

  1. I must admit, just like the countries that took part in the survey, I too am biased towards my own city. To me, London is absolutely amazing! There’s the balance of central London tourism, and quieter, prettier suburbs. However, I do understand where people are coming from with the whole New York thing. It has the attraction of being a very ‘young’ and ‘cool’ city with its coffee shops and loft apartments. Then again, I’ve visited Norway and Denmark, and the cities there are amazing in their own way too. They are more reserved, subtle, and yet still exciting places to be. That doesn’t come to any conclusion, but I hope it helps the discussion! Great post by the way! Loved it 🙂

    • ‘m biased, too; of course London is a fantastic place to live, do business and visit, as the survey showed. It’s interesting to see that other countries feel quite similarly too, but I just wonder if shows like Friends and Sex and The City have had an influence on people’s perceptions of NYC as a place to live. I’m sure a New Yorker could show us what living there is REALLY like, just as a veteran taxi driver could show any starry-eyed Anglophile that it’s not just queuing in the rain for afternoon tea in London… Thank you for starting the discussion off!

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