Invariably there are plenty of arguments over which are the best cities in the world. What’s great for one person might well be hell on earth for another. However, Resonance Consultancy, which specialises in this sort of thing, has set itself the mammoth task of objectively rating the top 100 cities in the world in their “World’s Best Cities” Report.
So how do they come to their conclusions? Well, every year, they spend copious amounts of time, pouring over user-generated data from sources like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and TripAdvisor. They focused on three key factors; liveability, lovability, and prosperity. From that they put together their rankings, but what does each category encompass?
This takes into account attributes like the city’s environment, both natural and constructed. So, how many parks are there, is the city walkable or bike-friendly? Are there points of interest and landmarks that locals have recommended? It also takes into account the city’s infrastructure. This includes factors like airport connectivity and institutions of higher education.
A city’s lovability is all about the kind of things that draw people to a city and let them enjoy their time there. This covers the culture, nightlife, restaurants shopping, and attractions. It also analyses the number of search results in Google, the Reviews on TripAdvisor, hashtags on Instagram, and its popularity on Google trends over the previous year.
This is the factor that governs the ability of the city’s inhabitants to prosper and grow. Attributes such as the population’s level of education, unemployment, per capita GDP, and poverty rate. From a business standpoint, it looks at how many Fortune 500 companies are based there, how many start-ups are emerging, and the size of the city’s largest convention centre.
So, after analyzing all that data, what did they conclude? Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Number 1 – London
A perennial favorite, London dominates the list this year. It’s been a tough year for the capital, which, along with the rest of the UK, has suffered more than its fair share of hardships. Political instability, including changes in both the holder of the office of Prime Minister and the monarch, has impacted the city over the previous 12 months, but through it all, London has made fantastic progress. The completion of massive infrastructure projects, like the Elizabeth Line, has seen an influx of visitors to London, and they, along with its more permanent denizens, have been making their mark all over sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Trip advisor. The rush of tourists has also filled London’s coffers at a time when it desperately needed it in the post-covid world.
London is home to the best-educated populace in the world, attaining first place in this facet. This explains why so many major companies such as Meta and Google have bases there. Culture too, is a highlight with London being the number one destination on the list.
London is a city that never stops growing, and never stops changing, all of which forms a part of its enduring appeal. It topped the scale on the lovability and liveability factors, whilst coming third in terms of prosperity, the highest ranking in Europe.
Number 2 -Paris
At number 2 overall, Paris takes second and third place respectively for Liveability and Lovability, and deservedly so. It came too of the class for its impressive sights and landmarks and joined first for its walkability.
The City of Lights is often wrought by protests and this year was no different, with unrest taking place during the summer. Despite this, tourists still flock to France’s capital, eager to devour the knowledge held within the city’s many museums, visit its landmarks, and gorge on the fine food from its restaurants.
Paris’s transport links aren’t too shabby either. The capital took advantage of the slow footfall of tourists over the leaner years of the pandemic to renovate Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport, with developments in rail travel also continuing a breakneck speed.
As the years have gone by, Paris has become even friendlier to pedestrians than ever before. Car parking spots and quieter streets, unneeded by vehicles during the pandemic, became outdoor seating for restaurants, and this temporary measure has now become permanent. The tourist district, near Notre Dame Cathedral, has become a town square. The cathedral itself, having been devastated by fire a few years ago, is set to reopen in 2024. That’s not the only thing that’s happening of note that year though. Paris is set to host the 2024 Olympics, with hopes that it will reinvigorate the city in the same way it has done elsewhere in the world.
Number 3 – New York
The twice-named city comes in at second on the Lovability scale and it’s not hard to see why. What’s not to love about the Big Apple, after all? With attractions like Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building and the more recent addition of the Highline, there’s plenty to see when you visit the city. The return of tourism, post-pandemic, has been a massive boost for the city’s economy. Museums have expanded and been renovated, enabling them to cope with the influx of visitors eager to step out into the world after being cooped up during the pandemic.
The city sits at number six on the liveability scale. Rents that dipped during the pandemic have now recovered and although it’s not exactly a cheap place to live, there’s plenty there to delight the residents who can afford it.
The pandemic, of course, had an impact on the city’s prosperity and it sits at number 12 on the list for this attribute. Offices are only around 50% occupied. With work-from-home and hybrid working becoming the norm, use of the Metro on Fridays is down by around 52% and that’s had a knock-on impact on the prosperity of businesses around the city.
It’s not all bad though. The quiet period allowed for improvement works at New York’s three main airports, La Guardia, JFK, and Newark, with each gaining new terminals. Whilst office space is in less demand, hotel rooms are required even more than ever, with 10,000 new or renovated rooms opening up in 2022.
Number 4 – Tokyo
Tokyo sits as a shining example of what the city of the future could be like. With its safe, relatively crime-free streets, the world can marvel at the sight of small children roaming the city on their way to school or just going out to play. In a city this safe, there’s no need for adults to accompany them everywhere.
Tokyo is also a fantastic place to shop, whether you are looking for luxury goods, clothing, or technology. There are also some amazing restaurants in the city. It’s no wonder it’s rated number one for both shopping and restaurants, and third, overall, for liveability.
Tokyo had the misfortune of hosting the delated Olympics during the pandemic, so the previously expected visitors could never materialize. That meant the city had all the costs associated with hosting the Olympics relating to accommodation and infrastructure improvement, but none of the immediate benefits that would have been bestowed upon it by an increase in visitors. Still, its 11th-place prosperity ranking belies the fact that it’s now very well placed to capitalise on people’s new-found, post-pandemic freedom, so it’s not entirely unlikely that the city will hit the Japanese government’s target of 60 million tourists bringing in USD136 billion in revenue by 2030.
Number 5 – Singapore
Asia’s second entry in the top five is Singapore. The city-state sits at number two based on prosperity, and it’s not hard to see why. Tourists are drawn to the varied shopping opportunities, with everything from high fashion to high tech covered. Shopaholics can even indulge their passions 24/7 by visiting the six-story high Mustafa Centre.
Tourists can already delight at the sight of the Changi Airport’s spectacular waterfall as they arrive, but, in the future, they will also be treated to more green space and a new waterfront district. There’s also a new outdoor, multipurpose venue, NS Square, coming soon.
Rounding out the remainder of the top ten, we start with Dubai at 6. It’s a city that caters to a lot of visitor’s needs, with numerous attractions and family friendly resorts. It’s no wonder it comes high on the prosperity scale at 4th place. However, its overall ranking is dragged down by its 35th place on the Liveability scale.
At number 7, is San Francisco. It’s mostly propped up by its 5th place in the Prosperity rating, with scores of 20 and 28 for liveability and lovability respectively, but the city has a lot to offer. As well as tourist attractions like Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf, there are plenty of shopping opportunities too. It’s also the number one spot for start-ups, with many of them having a tech focus.
Number 8 is Barcelona. The Spanish city stands out for its Lovability (7) and Liveability (10), but is lagging behind on prosperity, placing at 48. Still, with its amazing weather, fabulous beaches, and impressive architecture, it’s a top place to visit or live.
Amsterdam takes the number 9 spot. Whilst it’s the smallest city in the top 10, it still has -plenty to offer. Liveability is ranked highly, at 5th on the list and its perhaps its lack of sprawl that helps it to take that spot. Amsterdam is well known for being a great place to cycle, with over 400km of cycle routes within its confines and the relative accessibility of the whole city makes it a great place to live or visit. Tourism, especially of the anti-social kind, has recently been deliberately curtailed in the city, all in an effort to make it a better place to live, which might explain why it only sits at 24 in the prosperity rankings.
Seoul rounds out the top 10 and it’s not hard to see why its placed so highly. Prosperity is rated in 8th place and it also has the 8th lowest poverty rating of all the cities that have been ranked. Seoul is renowned for its high-tech infrastructure, with internet speeds well in excess of those found in other cities of the world. Tourism is also on the rise and it’s the 4th most popular search on Airbnb.
If you’re curious about where your home city ranked, or just want to find out about somewhere you’ll be visiting, you can find the full report, including a rundown of the remaining top 100 cities, at Resonance’s World’s Best Cities website.
Alternatively, if you are relocating to a new city, Cornerstone can most certainly help. We can assist with a wide range of services, from Immigration to Home search and shipping to language training. Contact us via webchat through our website, or give us a call on +44 (0) 20 3405 5500. For moves to Ireland, please call +353 (1) 964 3555.