On top of the world


Two American Cities have been named to Monocle magazine’s (I’ve never heard of it, either. Does that matter?) list of the 20 most livable cities in the world. Honolulu is one. And a city that is decidedly not Honolulu is the other. Minneapolis.

Columnist Tyler Brule gives us enough ammunition to feel smug that should take us well past next winter:

What is still something of a shock is how many cities still get it so very, very wrong. London doesn’t make the grade for the simple reason that it has somehow managed to grant planning permission to a most uninspired shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, an area that is rapidly becoming a part of central London

But here’s the thing: The article that justifies Minneapolis’ lofty reputation is for subscribers only. But on a cover page it says, “A rustbelt revival is attracting young art, new money – and old problems.”


Minneapolis, meanwhile, is on the ball, issuing a press release that said…

In giving Minneapolis a top-20 ranking, the magazine notes the city’s thriving arts and cultural institutions, festivals, and rising culinary reputation. Monocle also gives Minneapolis high marks for environmentalism, with more than 80 green rooftops and 90 percent of households that recycle. Minneapolis is also one of the sunniest cities on its list. Of the top twenty cities, only four average more hours of sunshine each year.

It also recognizes Minneapolis residents’ high participation in block clubs and other neighborhood groups, and notes that Minneapolis is more diverse than most outsiders believe. Monocle also highlights the city’s nearly complete wireless broadband network, which will help the City provide better services and create unique opportunities for businesses, residents, and visitors.

It’s pretty bad timing to be cited for thriving arts and cultural institutions in the same week that one them announced it’s closing, and the curator of another announced he’s blowing town for a gig in New York.

The press release didn’t indicate what “old problems” the city faces.

Cubicle neighbor Stephanie Curtis, who has heard of Monocle says Brule is from Winnipeg and that may account for a bias toward Minneapolis.

Keep in mind, of course, there are other surveys of livable cities that doesn’t mention Minneapolis.

For example:

  • Partners for Livable Communities (Denver)
  • Places Rated (Pittsburgh)
  • The Economist (Vancouver)