How can criteria for ranking the world’s 10 most livable cities inform other places?

Greg Colson - Stick Maps - Cleveland (1991)

Monocle magazine periodically publishes city rankings. Reflecting on the way to developing a list of the world’s 10 most livable cities, Tyler Brule came up with an unexpected list of criteria (presented here). The introduction to his column in the Financial Times offers the context –

Sometime between writing last week’s column and settling down to tap out today’s I had a slight change of heart about the essential ingredients regarding quality of life. While cities get high marks if they have low crime rates, good public schools, smooth-running buses, trams and subways, and if they offer a healthy climate for starting up a small business, my daily holiday regime on the coast of Tuscany had me questioning whether there should be simpler measures to judge whether a city is delightfully liveable.

On Brule’s “simple measures” list are things such as sufficient water pressure to get a good blast in the shower, great orange juice, public seating, and good windows.

It is very rare, it seems, that we reflect on the simple things that can improve our own environments and those we design for others. Most frequently, the dominant criteria are abstract metrics imposed by the providers of space rather than the experiential metrics of those who live and work in the spaces we design.

Consider Brule’s point of view, your daily regime when in your favorite vacation spot – How can these experiences overcome your typical demands of the workplace and influence a different approach to its design?

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