|No. 1 Tokyo / Provides great quality of life for those who live and visit.|
"What makes the good life and where can we find it?" asks Monocle, the global affairs and culture magazine that's published in London. While great cities adapt and change like their residents, it's worth asking: How do we create cities that deliver quality of life for everyone?
|Stanley Park / Vancouver, B.C.|
|Place de la Concorde / Paris|
This year, Monocle also took into account another annoyance: "cities where the cost of living prohibits old bookshops from staying in business or young entrepreneurs finding a start-up space." I guess that's why San Francisco didn't make the Top 25 and Portland, Oregon did.
So, when the ninth annual Quality of Life list was published in Monocle's July/August issue, a new number one emerged for 2015 -- say hello to world No. 1 Tokyo.
On Tokyo, Monocle wrote: "A new and worthy winner. Monocle has made little secret of its love for Tokyo through the years and it does something no other global city can: provides great quality of life for those who live and visit. London and New York, take note.
"Tokyo has appealed to many outsiders and for many different reasons: its cleanliness, tolerance, politeness and difference, as well as its sheer scale, which has always allowed foreigners to bathe in comfortable anonymity. ... It was recently identified as the world's safest city, a stereotype that residents can happily attest to. ... At the heart of this unexpected sense of security is Tokyo's defining paradox: its heart-stopping size and concurrent feeling of peace and quiet."
|Powell's City of Books / Portland, Oregon|
"Quality of life is ... simple pleasures," wrote Mari Shapiro, founding director of Protocinema, which creates contemporary-art exhibitions. "What makes life good is simultaneously a very simple and complicated question. It is about being in a city that allows you to do or have what makes you happy. Ultimately, this issue often comes down to class and economy and the cities with the best quality of life are those in which the basic pleasures -- to be safe, to have the time to enjoy food, to be engaged with culture, with friends and family -- are available to people of any means. At the top of my list is Istanbul: a strong cay or a grilled fish for a few lira by the Bosphorus is available to anyone."
|Bloemenmarkt / Amsterdam|
At the very least, for me, it's always interesting to pour over the list and see how many of the cities I've visited in person -- six (Vancouver, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam and Portland).
Here is Monocle's 2015 Quality of Life ranking of the top 25 cities in the world:
- 1. Tokyo
- 2. Vienna
- 3. Berlin
- 4. Melbourne
- 5. Sydney
- 6. Stockholm
- 7. Vancouver
- 8. Helsinki
- 9. Munich
- 10. (tie) Zürich and Copenhagen
- 12. Fukuoka
- 13. Singapore
- 14. Kyoto
- 15. Paris
- 16. Madrid
- 17. Auckland
- 18. Lisbon
- 19. Hong Kong
- 20. Amsterdam
- 21. Hamburg
- 22. Geneva
- 23. Oslo
- 24. Barcelona
- 25. Portland
Photographs: Tokyo - Google Images; Amsterdam, Paris, Portland, and Vancouver by Michael Dickens © 2012 and 2015.