Copenhagen has just been judged the best city in the world to live in. What would London have to do to achieve this status?
London is one of the world’s greatest cities and, some would argue, ‘the’ global centre for finance, business and culture. However, these qualities don’t necessarily make it a great place to live, especially for low-income households, families and the elderly. Is it possible for a city to be powerful, internationally dominant and competitive, and at the same time offer the kind of quality of life its citizens desire? London has to decide what it is, what it’s for and what it’s prepared to compromise.
Tim Fendley, Creative director, Applied Information Group
The survey voting Copenhagen ‘number one city’ appeared in Tyler Brûlé’s Monocle magazine. Given the editor’s predilection for Scandinavian and Swiss-German style, it’s no surprise that five of the top six cities in the world league table are in northern Europe. London is too diverse, surprising and inconsistent to get in his top 20, but those facets are also part of London’s unique strength. I doubt whether any other city has the same number of secrets waiting to be revealed. Dr John son’s mantra is as true as ever.
Adrian Day, Managing director, FHD
I come from a northern industrial town called Runcorn. One year it was the second most-polluted place in Europe. Everyone was livid. It was the first year we hadn’t come first. Running up is what we do best. You could improve London, get rid of the clutter, the traffic, the fast food, the seedy doorways and binge drinking. You could remind people of their architectural heritage and devote more energy to art and culture. But what would you end up with? Copenhagen. Be careful.
Robert Ball, Design director, The Partners
I’m half Danish and spend quite a lot of time in this great city, and I think I have some simple answers. As in Copenhagen, get Londoners to pay more than 50 per cent tax and channel all the cash into infrastructure, including a comprehensive network of cycle paths and public transport. Tax cars so heavily nobody bothers driving them. Set up a department to promote progressive modern thinking in design, architecture and town planning. It can’t be that hard, but somehow it’s impossible for London. Sorry.
Nicolas Roope, Creative director, Poke London