Minneapolis is one of the world's most livable cities. Or so say the Brits.

Minneapolis, part of what London's Monocle magazine calls "a rustbelt revival," ranks as the 19th most livable city in the world.

That's according to The Monocle Global Quality of Life Survey, which has a trailer (yes, apparently in the UK, print features have video trailers. In it, over a frenetic soundtrack, the narrator explains:

For the past twelve months the editors of Monocle have been tracking the performance of urban centers around the world, measuring them on the merits of livability. From communication links to crime, from hours of sunshine to liquor licensing hours, we've been reshuffling our deck to see who comes out on top.

One other American city made the list: Honolulu (12th place). At the top of the list: Copenhagen, Munich, and Tokyo. Being a resident of the 19th most livable city in the world, however, won't get you access to Monocle's article. Subscribers only, deadbeat.

A City of Minneapolis press release had this to say:

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.

In a recent Financial Times op-ed, Monocle's editor-in-chief says of the rankings and how they were determined:

There’s nothing quite like a global city ranking that mixes the scientific (hard data on crime, education and healthcare) with the more subjective (quality of housing, urban scale and the availability of a good cocktail in the wee hours) to make people consider uprooting. In Monocle’s 2007 top 20 cities survey, a healthy combination of an exceptional airport, good urban transport links, low crime, inviting neighbourhoods and a heart of Europe location made Munich number one city.

For 2008, the addition of a new set of metrics, including the ease of opening a small business and the number of cultural venues, went some distance towards reshuffling the deck.

And about those cities that didn't make the list, this:

Toronto doesn’t qualify because it has allowed its suburbs to become unconnected, ugly sprawls of hideous houses (garages bolted on to the front of houses are far better suited to southern California than to southern Ontario) and has done little of merit to deal with its derelict railway lands. New York continues to grind to a halt under the weight of automobile traffic, has no coherent scheme to get more people on to bicycles and still no sign of a high-speed, non-stop rail link to any of its airports.

Best I can tell, there is no mention of the punishing winter we just endured. No matter, there's always Honolulu.




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