Most Liveable Cities: A Closer Look At The Winners

Most Liveable Cities: A Closer Look At The Winners
Arts & Culture

Here's a closer look at why Monocle magazine chose Zurich, Copenhagen and Zurich as their top 3 cities for 2009.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 18 june 2009

Here’s a closer look at why Monocle magazine chose Zurich, Copenhagen and Tokyo as their top 3 cities for 2009.

Zürich reached the number one spot because the Magazine editors admired its “extraordinary” urban plans.

The city is expanding its tram system, main railway station and its already state-of-the-art and well-connected airport (there are 24 daily flights to London alone). It is also leading the way in protecting the climate – residents have voted to impose on themselves strict new emission targets.

Zürich is home to 100 galleries and 50 museums and a vibrant nightlife. Admirably it’s kept a diverse and independent retail sector. And it’s a great place to run a company. That’s why it made it to the top of our poll for 2009.


The team at the magazine also admires Copenhagen‘s metropolitan life coupled with intimacy, Scandinavian welfare, low crime rates and a relaxed atmosphere:

The city is clean and green and flows smoothly (and will make the perfect backdrop for the COP15 climate conference this year). Its cultural life has been given a major boost with the new royal library (it also works as a cultural centre), a new opera house, a main theatre and a brand- new concert hall. And it’s fantastically well-connected via its easy-to-use airport. Like the rest of Denmark, the city can still seem a little uneasy about its ­immigrant communities.

Monocle argues that Tokyo runs like clockwork and its service culture beats any competition:

On paper, Tokyo shouldn’t work at all – nearly 13 million people living cheek by jowl, most commuting in the same direction in and out of the city every day.

And yet it does, consistently outperforming other cities in the world on everything from the quality of its restaurants to the efficiency of its public transport.

At first glance, Tokyo is a jumble of roads and buildings but it has a cosier side, with low-rise side streets and homely restaurants. It’s easy to see why Tokyo has become the world’s most liveable megalopolis. The city also has an eye on the Olympics in 2016 and a programme of increasing green space is underway.

Monocle Magazine

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