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Cities Where I Would Want to Live, or Cities Where I Would Want to Die?

The Financial Times has this piece about other pieces about the most livable cities in the world. Jet Set mags like Monocle, Forbes, and The Economist release these types of lists every year to make me feel like shit about having never been to Copenhagen. The FT gets it right in its criticism of these types of lists: the cities are white, boring, pre-gentrified, and expensive. So these cities (Vancouver, Copenhagen, Zurich, Munich) all sound like great places to die slow, but dying slow isn’t living. I’ll take the grime, disease, and social tension of a real city any day. The reason places like Los Angeles and Shanghai are so awesome is precisely because they aren’t planned: they are emergent patchworks of ad hoc design, infinitely more dynamic and interesting than the pasteurized, hermetically-sealed Scandinavian utopias.

Besides being havens of WASP-style pretentiousness, the cities on these lists also have another thing in common: no poors. Nothing brings the “livability” of a city down quite like poor people.

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Categories: Cities, Design, WASP