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The annual Quality of Life Survey in Monocle magazine’s July issue has always functioned as an un-Places to Go list, with a collection of cities that are excellent places to live, work, and enjoy life rather than take a selfie atop a high-altitude attraction or embark on a safari.
For travelers, the list is typically one of second- or third-tier cities, mostly in northern Europe but also Australia and Asia. North and South America appear infrequently and Africa and the Middle East have never ranked. Neither has an Italian city, for that matter.
From a travel perspective, the list highlights how difficult it can be to live in tourist hubs like New York, London, or Rome, while also extolling the public transit benefits of Copenhagen, the smart urban planning of Portland, or the low-budget appeal of Berlin. In every case the selections are good for visitors, but not at the expense of locals.
This year’s list is less Scandinavian than ever, and demonstrates a change in the metrics used to rank the selections.
“We’ve given extra marks to cities that limit their nannying and we’ve tried to give value to places where there’s something else we know is vital: freedom, grit, independence, a joy with life,” said Monocle editor in chief Tyler Brûlé. “We’re frustrated with city councils that are too quick to say no, places where parents never let their children run free and capitals that seem opposed to the odd late night out.”
The Quality of Life Index follows shortly after the introduction in May of Monocle’s new travel guidebook series, as well as its forthcoming summer travel book The Escapist, which will appear in July.
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