Who wants to live in a livable city?

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Nice city -- but is it boring?

Did you guys see this article that made the rounds last week, about how lists of livable cities almost never seem to include the cities where everyone, well, wants to live?

[These lists are] profoundly concerned with things like well-designed street furniture, a proliferation of eye-wateringly expensive artisanal retail, boutique hotels with good (English-speaking) service and environmentally friendly mayoral policies. Certainly these are all things which help but they skew the polls to a particular type of European or marginal Pacific city. What they also do is to strip out all the complexity, all the friction and buzz that make big cities what they are. [Read the full article]


The article points to the way that "livable" cities like Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen and Munich never seem to be exciting cities, like New York or Paris. As the author points out, "The big cities it seems … are just too big, too dangerous, too inefficient."

I'm not the best to judge, as I bailed on living in two exciting cities (New York and Los Angeles) and adore two of the cities lambasted as livable-but-boring (Vancouver BC, and Copenhagen). That said, it seems to me that this article is about more than just cities… really, this question can be asked about any location:

Which is more important to you: livability or vibrancy?

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