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3520 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 24, 2007 1:00 PM by Wilco
offended by everything Rookie 8 posts since
Dec 13, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 23, 2007 7:19 AM

The greatest city on earth?


According to url=[/url] study its London. You can follow the links for the methodology they used and the complete list of the rankings. They can claim its an objective measurement but in the end its always subjective. Here's the top twenty four.




New York





Washington DC

Los Angeles


Mexico City


San Francisco






Hong Kong









To date I've personally visited 14 of the above 24. It's only a matter of time before I see them all. As to my own favorite I'd have to agree with the study. I was a little surprised that Chicago came in fifth. I guess you're susceptible to not appreciating the familiar.



How many have you visited and what's your favorite?






  • bigapplepie Legend 2,455 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 23, 2007 10:05 AM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?

    I would rank New York above London. The people are friendlier.



    I worked in London from 1986 to 1995, Zurich from 1995 to 199 and New York since save 9 months in San Francisco and projects in Boston and Mexico City.

  • janSport Rookie 267 posts since
    Dec 12, 2007
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    2. Dec 23, 2007 9:25 AM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?


    I have visited 13 of them.  I would also rank NYC above London, which isn´t even in my top 100 to visit.  My favorites out of that list are Rome and Berlin.  In the US, my fave would be SF.



    For the greatest city in time, I would say Rome. 



  • JPGarland Legend 776 posts since
    Dec 7, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 23, 2007 9:48 AM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?


    Of the 11 I've been to, I'd rank them with the top 3 well above the rest:


    1. New York (although I'm biased);

    2. London;

    3. Paris;

    4. Barcelona;

    5. Amsterdam;

    6. San Francisco;

    7. Brussels;

    8. Chicago;

    9. Washington;

    10. LA;

    11. Rome.

    While I did not like Rome, I can understand why others would.  (But I love northern Italy.)

  • jcumming Amateur 704 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 23, 2007 10:01 AM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?


    I have been to almost all of them, but some of the visits were over 20 years ago so I'm not exactly up to date.



    Toronto and Chicago remind me so much of one another, except Toronto doesn't have any crappy areas. Neither one of them holds a candle to NYC though.



    I don't really consider Los Angeles a's a group of places.



    Brussels is high on my list of most boring places on the planet. It makes Dallas look exciting.



    My three favourite cities to visit in North America...San Fran, Vancouver and Boston



    Favourite on the planet: Hong Kong









  • grimupnorth Rookie 204 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 23, 2007 12:00 PM (in response to jcumming)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?


    It's a really difficult thing to assess, isn't it? The criteria (reporoduced below) are pretty arbitrary, really, and can be distorted. My favourite example of this is the fact that google hits was used as a factor and Paris scored higher than London on this primarily due to the existence of Paris Hilton.



    I've been to very few of these cities - only London, Barcelona, Paris and Hong Kong. Of the four, only London left me underwhelmed, but that's maybe due to the fact that some of my visits have consisted of just passing through it on the tube en-route to somewhere else. When I stayed there, I found it OK but (as is traditional for a northern Englishman) wouldn't want to live there. I loved Paris though the people didn't seem very welcoming, Barcelona I just loved, and I was blown away by the vibrancy of Hong Kong - my perception of the latter was not doubt affected by being shown round by a Hong Kong Chinese friend and it being the beginning of a wonderful holiday.



    I went to (old) York today, and just before Christmas it's absolutely lovely.














    Reason for inclusion: sheer scale is the most basic attribute of a city.


    Measure: population of the metropolitan agglomeration.


    Source: the German website, and local authorities.


    Score: one point per million inhabitants, rounded.


    Drawback: this is a much tougher proposition than you might imagine, as there is no standard agreement on where to draw the boundaries. As Jon Copestake of the Economist Intelligence Unit says, "Assessing city populations is a contentious and sometimes difficult situation". As a consistent source that included almost all the cities covered, we used the well-regarded website Figures for the two that are not covered by this impressive survey, Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi, were sourced from the relevant local authorities.


    Flights per week


    Measure: direct flights departing each week from all the city's airports.


    Source: information supplied by OAG (Official Airline Guide), the global flight information and data solutions company.


    Score: one point per thousand flights, rounded.


    Drawbacks: cities in remote and/or insular locations (such as Auckland and London) will tend to score disproportionately high; those with excellent rail links, such as Paris, have seen many domestic flights displaced by train connections and score lower than they might otherwise.


    Stock market value


    Measure: market capitalisation of the stock market, in tens of trillions of US dollars, as supplied by the World Federation of Exchanges and individual bourses. For New York, the value of the NYSE, the American Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq were aggregated.


    Score: the square root of the "market cap" was taken.


    Reason for inclusion: to identify if the city is a significant engine for the economy.


    Drawback: in Europe, several bourses have amalgamated, so that Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris share the sum of the Euronext valuation. In addition, cities where a large proportion of economic activity is in the hands of state-run or privately funded enterprises will fail to score as well as they might - if at all.


    Ethnic restaurants


    Measure: number of non-native restaurants listed in the current Time Out City Guide


    Score: one point for every 20 such restaurants; one point if there is no Time Out guide covering the city.


    Reason for inclusion: a measure of diversity.


    Drawback: the researchers were obliged to make a call about whether a restaurants was "native" or not on the basis of information in a brief review. In addition, many diverse cities are not (yet) covered by Time Out guides. And cities with extremely strong native cuisines, such as Paris and Rome, score disproportionately low.


    "Three-star sights"


    Measure: in the Michelin Green Guide, how many three-star sights (the top rating) does the city have?


    Score: one for each; if a city is covered by a Green Guide but does not have a single three-star sight, then a point is deducted. This is intended to treat fairly cities that are not covered by Michelin.


    Reason for inclusion: this is the one measurable quantity of excellence for tourist atractions.


    Drawback: ultimately, this is still a subjective call by the compilers of the guides; and cities with outstanding sights that are not covered by Michelin can claim to be losing out.




    Measure: is the city, or has it ever been, a capital?


    Score: two points if the city is currently a capital, one point if it was once but is no longer; incidentally, this was enough to provide the one-point victory by London over New York.


    Reason for inclusion: being a political capital increases everything from the prestige to the economic activity of a city.


    Drawback: both "is" and "was" are riddled with problems. For example, the world community refuses to recognise Israel's claim that Jerusalem is its capital, and in practice Tel Aviv fulfils so many aspects of a capital city that we have awarded both points to the city. Edinburgh naturally gains a pair of points as capital of Scotland, but Dubai does not get one - even though it the capital of its individual Emirate - because neighbouring Abu Dhabi is officially capital of the whole UAE. Edinburgh "Was" is even trickier: while Rio was plainly the capital of Brazil until Brasilia took the title in the 1960s, a city such as Frankfurt presents a trickier decision. The German economic powerhouse was once a "Free Imperial City" within the Holy Roman Empire, and gains a point for effectively having been capital of itself in the manner of, say, Hong Kong.


    Corporate HQs


    Measure: the number of companies in the top 50 of the Forbes Global 2000 - "a comprehensive list of the world's biggest and most powerful companies, as measured by a composite ranking for sales, profits, assets, and market value".


    Score: one point for each company.


    Reason for inclusion: a measure of economic might.


    Drawback: Samsung, the company in 48th place, has assets of only $66 billion, compared with Citigroup, which is backed by a handy $1.5 trillion; but each earns the same for the cities of Seoul and New York respectively. In addition, some of the world's biggest firms have headquarters in obscure places; Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, while Nestle is headquartered in Vevey, a small town on Lake Geneva. Even though much of their financial might is handled in New York and Zurich respectively, these cities do not earn any points.


    Symphony orchestras


    Measure: how many symphony orchestras does the city have?


    Score: one point for one, two points for more than one.


    Reason for inclusion: an indication of serious cultural worth.


    Drawback: the definition of a "proper" symphony orchestra; and the exclusion of alternative representations of serious music (eg Chinese opera) and other forms of music (eg rock and pop) from the score.




    Measure: has the city hosted a modern Olympic Games


    Score: one point for each time


    Reason for inclusion: a mark of recognition as a world-class sporting venue


    Drawback: London and Paris, hosted their Olympiads a long time ago (1908/1948 and 1900/1924 respectively) yet still earn two points each.




    Measure: the number of results, to the nearest million, that you get when you type in the name of the city into (not, which would have a British bias). Measurements were taken between 2.15pm and 2.30pm GMT on 7 December.


    Score: the cube root, rounded to the nearest whole number.


    Reason for inclusion: the most popular search engine on the world wide web is a good guide to the pre-eminence of a city in the global mindset. Because results vary so sharply, a very strong attenuator is applied, in the form of the cube root of the number.


    Drawback: all sorts of factors can distort the score on Google: sites featuring the celebrity Paris Hilton helped push the score for the French capital well above London's.


    Underground railway


    Measure: length of underground railway in miles. While many cities have mass-transit railways, only relatively few have substantial stretches underground - a mark of substantial investment in infrastructure. The source was the website, a fairly comprehensive site of underground networks.


    Score: cube root of the length, in miles


    Drawback: some cities - Chicago, New York, Paris, London - have stretches of elevated railway that are every bit as good as underground lines, but these were not included. In addition, it was sometimes difficult to assess precisely how much of the system is underground; Mexico City’s result is based on multiplying the total of 125 miles of Metro line by the proportion of the stations that are located underground.




    Measure: the number of individual guidebooks on the shelves of Stanfords in Covent Garden, London


    Score: one point for every 10 guides, rounded


    Reason for inclusion: tourists, expatriate workers and business visitors all tend to buy guidebooks, and the broader the selection at the world's biggest map and travel guide store, the stronger the interest in the city.


    Drawback: this is an Anglo-centric measure; a travel bookstore in New York, Hong Kong or Mexico City would provide very different answers.


    48 Hours


    Measure: how many times the city has appeared in The Independent's 48 Hours city-break feature in the past seven years (since the start of 2000).


    Score: one point for having appeared up to five times; two points for being in the "superleague" of six appearances or more (an honour shared by seven cities: the great European half-dozen of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris and Rome, plus the world's favourite stopover, Singapore).


    Reason for inclusion: an indication of the popularity of each city for short-break visitors.


    Drawback: the decision on when, and how frequently, a city should appear in the 48 Hours segment, is a judgement firmly focussed on demand among readers of The Independent Traveller; while they comprise a diverse and interesting group of people, they are not representative of the world's population as a whole.


    World Heritage Sites


    Measure: how many UNESCO World Heritage Sites does the city have?


    Score: one for each


    Reason for inclusion: this global cultural watchdog applies rigorous criteria before awarding the accolade of World Heritage Site, a badge of historic merit.


    Drawback: the entire "historic centre" of a city such as Athens or Rome can comprise a single World Heritage Site, while London has four much smaller sites and scores a point for each of them.



  • tithers Rookie 1,259 posts since
    Nov 26, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Dec 23, 2007 7:03 PM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?

    I've been to 5 of them...6 if the "Athens" they are referring to is ATHENS, GEORGIA! LOL...nawt!

  • Front242 Rookie 41 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 23, 2007 10:15 PM (in response to offended by everything)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?

    if the knicks didn't suck so bad new york would win hands down over tokyo. london? paris? chicago? give me a fu cking break.

  • bigapplepie Legend 2,455 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Dec 24, 2007 4:56 AM (in response to grimupnorth)
    Re: The greatest city on earth?

    The Independent? THE INDEPENDENT??? Is that rag still around? Have they fired their remaining journalist yet to save more money?

  • Jacques Le Strappe Pro 203 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Re: The greatest city on earth?


    Not sure I agree with the ranking.  Moscow ranked more highly than Toronto?






    My ranking...



    1) Can you catch fish there?



    2) Can you eat your catch?



    3) Can you feel at home in the downtown core?



    4) Can you walk outdoors downtown at 3 AM without fear?



    5) Can you run, bike and ski all in the same afternoon?  (after fishing)



  • Wilco Community Moderator 58 posts since
    Jul 8, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Re: The greatest city on earth?

    "Make no little plans.  They have no magic to stir men's

    blood and probably themselves will not be realized. 

    Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering

    that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die,

    but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting

    itself with ever-growing insistency.  Remember that our sons

    and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.

    Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.  Think big"




    -Daniel Burnham



    Clearly Chicago.

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