Why city rankings always get it wrong
Happiest cities, most livable cities, loneliest cities — the Web’s filled with lists. Almost all of them are bogus.
The essence of a city, says Joe Peach, editor of the online magazine This Big City, is something more than the sum of its parts. If it wasn’t, New York and Los Angeles, with their epic congestion and high rents, would quickly depopulate. Instead, these are the places that the best and brightest dream of moving to.
And cities don’t lend themselves to rankings that pick winners and losers either, says public policy consultant Otis White. “Cities aren’t engaged in a zero-sum game. This isn’t football. Boston can do well and New York can do well.” Both can be great places for different people.
“What is vibrant and interesting to one person is loud and overwhelming to another,” says Peach. In the end, it all comes down to how you, as an individual, interact with that particular city.”