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  • gabino gerardo

    Mexico City!
    City with the most museums in the world, share biking program, growing urban agriculture movement, rethinking public space and opening it up,rethinking the possibilities of a megalopolis, revival of aztec forms of urban agriculture (chinampas), booming young inventive chefs, street food galore, new government office for civic innovation and urban creativity (laboratory for the city, progressive (passed gay marriage before NYC, right to euthanasia, progressive social laws etc), urban ingenuity, 22 million people in the metro area, 50% population under age 26, and despite its challenges, one of the most exciting and energised cities in the world.

  • Joshua Neuman

    Thanks for all of the input, everyone. It appears that we've created a little "street corner revolution" of our own. In case you were wondering, the GOOD Cities List will be published in the Winter Edition of GOOD Magazine. You can subscribe to our mag at Okay, sorry for the commercial interruption....Back to the debate...

  • Leonoor Bergen

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands should definitely be on list. This is why:

    Do GOOD-er hub—
    Pakhuis de Zwijger ( is the most dynamic hub for creativity and innovation in Amsterdam. It is a centre where people with diverse professional as well as social backgrounds can meet, work, discuss and exchange ideas about the city. Located in an old warehouse looking out over the majestic IJ, Pakhuis de Zwijger aims to actively engage people on the big challenges of the City of Amsterdam. These programmes are developed by the programming team in partnership with about 100 partners in town and more then 30.000 online members.
    Pakhuis De Zwijger brings programmes on the creative industries and urban development. De Zwijger brings together citizens, government officials and the market to co-create the future of our city. A great number of initiatives in Amsterdam is bundled in this magazine, that was recently issued by Pakhuis de Zwijger:

    Civic engagement—
    - Geef om de Jan Eef (Take Care of the ‘Jan Eef’, is a citizen led initiative in a shopping street called the Jan Evertsenstraat in West Amsterdam. The project was started after a local shop owner had died in a robbery of his jewelry store. The idea: if the citizens living in the area take their responsibility and do their shopping in the Jan Evertsen this will create a healthy environment for entrepreneurs to start a shop and the street will improve. With one day pop-up shops Geef om de Jan Eef shows what the street could be like. Geef om de Jan Eef is a great success: the diversity of shops has increased, there is less vacancy and people feel safe and motivated to shop in the Jan Evertsenstraat again.
    - ARTCHES Street Museum of Modern Art aims to liven up the dull Amsterdam Sloterdijk and the neighbouring Westpoort area. The ultimate goal is urban regeneration and community involvement through the ARTCHES project that covers the successful symbioses of international and local art with architecture.
    - Tostifabriek ( is a living installation showing the origins of the food on your plate. Making a tosti sounds simple but is it really if you go back to the source- raising the pig for the ham , the cow for the cheese and growing the grain for your bread?

    Local vibes—
    - Hutspot ( is a warehouse for creative producers. Hutspot searches for new and interesting brands, designers, artists and entrepreneurs, offering them the chance to expose their products in their own space within the shop.
    - Javatas ( is an initiative by shop owners in the Indische Buurt, East Amsterdam. It is a bag (‘tas’) filled with recipes and a shopping route. The idea is to buy groceries at local shop owners in the Javastraat instead of at the two but supermarkets on both ends of the street.
    - Warehouse Weekender ( shows 2400m2 of work by photographers, artists, designers, beer brewers and other creatives.
    - Neighbourfoodmarket on the Westergasterrein ( , one Sunday each month food lovers gather to sell and taste the best local food in town. With over one hundred food stalls it’s the largest and tastiest food market in town.
    - Other great stuff to check out: Rollende Keukens (‘kitchens on wheels’,, Noorderparkkamer (socio-cultural hub in North Amsterdam, De Ceuvel (on-land harbour rising from a polluted brownfield,, the first ever 3D-printed canalhouse ( and NDSM-lab (

    Defining moment
    - Magneetfestival ( is our local version of Burning Man. Taking place on a large empty plot of land at the fringes of the city the Magneetfestival offers a free space for creative spirits, where every visitor is a co-creator of his own festival.
    - Very typical for Amsterdam: its dress-up parties and its world famous dance music. Best parties in town: Valtifest, Canal festival, Gay parade, Amsterdam Dance Event and of course Kingsday (formerly known as Queensday).
    - Amsterdam Urban Innovation Week, formerly known as the PICNIC Festival for technogy and innovation.

    Pick-me-up of choice
    Beer has been our local drink since time immemorial. You all know Heineken and Amstel, both local beers. Recently a growing number of delightful local micro breweries has seen the light. Do taste the delightful beers by Brouwerij het IJ, De 7 Deugden, De Bierfabriek, De Bekeerde Suster, De Prael, De Vriendschap and community brand Bolo Bier from Bos & Lommer. Or savour indie beers Oedipus and Halbe Beer- the bottles are collectors items!

  • Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison

    The City of Fremont, California has been having a few good years. In fact, you could even say it’s reached its golden era with the addition of a slew of companies along with all of the construction and development underway.

    So what was Fremont’s secret to success and what makes it a great city to be a part of?

    Cynics expected the NUMMI closure to be the City of Fremont’s downfall. Much to everyone’s surprise, it’s actually inspired the City’s rebirth.

    Fremont, in its ideal Silicon Valley location, is the 4th largest City in the Bay Area and 15th largest in California. Home to a vast industrial area that sits on the edge of arguably the most innovative region in the world, Fremont is poised to become a vital zone for 21st century American industrial production.

    The new Warm Springs/South Fremont BART Station currently in development will drastically enhance Fremont’s economy and quality of life. The City is well on its way to becoming a job-centric hub of the BART system. The new station will open within walking distance of Tesla Motors and the UPRR property. The City and the region are heavily invested in ensuring the area is developed strategically and takes advantage of the huge public support and regional access provided by the station.

    Plus, Fremont’s new Downtown plan will transform the City from an auto-oriented suburban environment to an urban community that celebrates the local economy and embraces a major metropolitan city vibe. We envision a Downtown that serves as the City’s social heartbeat – where people can connect, communicate and celebrate.

    Fremont is known as a place where things get built, a hub for manufacturing - From Tesla Motors, making cutting-edge cars, to Solaria, making solar panels, manufacturers are drawn to Fremont by incentives including a five-year waiver on business taxes, an expedited regulatory process, proximity to Silicon Valley firms and a skilled labor force.

    The City of Fremont has also recently rolled out a new site and blog dedicated to its business stakeholders. The new site,, and blog, Takes from Silicon Valley East, offer a platform for real estate brokers, investors, developers, entrepreneurs, and the community at large to share points-of-view and engage in discussion.

    Aside from all this great stuff happening in Fremont, the City was also ranked 5th Best Run City in America ( this year.

    Manufacturing, clean-tech, an innovation district, you name it – Fremont has it and is only getting better.

  • Pepijn Fens

    I think Eindhoven (Netherlands) has a lot of the points that would make a GOOD city. It is still growing and (occasionally) failing; but at least it is trying to become this "new" kind of city where work and living go hand in hand, and where everybody is an "actively participating citizen".

    This is also the area where Eindhoven is interesting; we have this huge old factory area called "Strijp-S" that basically serves as an area to experiment with new forms of working and living. They'll be working on this until 2030 or so, but the nice thing is that residents and city planners are working together on this. The more you contribute, the higher the chance that you'll eventually get your own designed home.
    Next to this, the old factory buildings are already actively in use to house all kinds of collaboration initiatives and startups.

    We also a some defining moments, namely the Dutch Design Week ( ). It's pretty big event with room for everyone to talk about design during all kinds of workshops and discussions as well. I'm not an expert on this, so I'll go find some people to back me up on this one..

  • David deSouza

    I have lived on 4 continents, in many countries and even more cities. My pick would be:

    Chiang Mai, Thailand:

    Chiang Mai is an amazing city. It’s the perfect mix of eastern and western culture. The old town is bustling with narrow alley ways, with amazing Buddhist temples and some of the best coffee shops that I have ever been to.

    1. Do GOOD-er hub
    Almost every day there is an opportunity to engage with different people and different cultures. A number of temples offer a ‘Monk chat’ where you can help young monks practice their English and ask them questions about Buddhism. I was a member of the coworking space in Chaing Mai, with weekly events on diverse topics that were open to everyone. We recently had a TedX event which was show cased a number of interesting talks from local and international speakers. A small local movie theater, called Documentary Arts Asia, screens independent films for free twice a week. There is also free Tai Chi in the park every morning.

    2. Civic engagement
    What I love about Chiang Mai is the passionate people. If they are not happy about something, they will take action. For example, the owner of a local elephant park started her vision from nothing, rescuing abused elephants.

    3. Local vibes
    Despite the allure of big, western brands like McDonalds and Starbucks, the locals of Chiang Mai have stuck to their roots. The daily food markets are always bustling, and for unique products you should experience the walking market on either Saturday or Sunday.

    4. Defining moment
    Chiang Mai has 2. The new year water festival known as Songkran, a city wide water fight and the most fun I’ve ever had:

    Then there is the awe inspiring lantern festival

    5. Pick-me-up of choice
    Coconut water, fresh from the nut, all for just 80 cents.

  • evan_a2

    Detroit, Michigan

    1. Do GOOD-er hub—The Heidelburg Project. A city block completely taken over by art to thwart crime and blight.

    2. Civic engagement—Eastern Market. The food/art/meeting hub of Southeastern Michigan.

    3. Local vibes—Almost every business in the city. Most small businesses have left over the past 40 years. (Ex. Slow's BBQ, Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit Mercantile Company)

    4. Defining moment—Movement or also known as DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Techno was created here and people from all over the world flock to hear the underground sounds of our city.

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—A Detroit Brown -Vernor's & Crown Royal

  • Bruce Good

    Cape Town, South Africa.

    At the southern tip of Africa we are blessed with amazing beaches, mountains, vineyards, natural beauty and a wonderful diverse nation.

    1. Do GOOD-er hub: Woodstock neighbourhood. We’ve recently moved office to the Woodstock Exchange – and it’s definitely a happening part of town. It’s accessible, still relatively cheap for office space, and there are plenty of creatives around.

    2. Civic engagement— Cape Town probably doesn’t have just one area – but somewhere between the Grand Parade, the N2 and Adderley Street, most likely.

    3. Local vibes—Definitely the neighborgoods market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

    4. Defining moment—Design Indaba, MCQ Parade, the J & B Metropolitan and the Cape Town Jazz Festival would probably all have a fair claim to the spoils!

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—there’s wine in abundance, so it would have to be a local Chardonnay in summer or Pinotage in winter! Although coffee is making a strong challenge..

  • Carmen Guerreiro

    I'm from Sao Paulo, and this can be a great city!

    1. Do GOOD-er hub— For me it's basically walking around Avenida Paulista or the city center to get inspired, take lessons, see street artists, watch independent movies and eat in small and cozy restaurants. I would probably highlight Escola Sao Paulo and The Hub SP as great places to cowork and engage.

    2. Civic engagement—Avenida Paulista, Rua Augusta

    3. Local vibes—I love Endossa, which is a collaborative shop, and it's on Rua Augusta, which has a bunch of galleries and small shops that are very unique.

    4. Defining moment—I would say that Virada Cultural is becoming that (24 hours of cultural activities, mainly concerts, for free in the streets), because Sao Paulo doesn't have the tradition of engaging people in public spaces, but that's changing. This year the defining moment was definitely the protests, when young people decided to take the streets and ask for change.

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—Sao Paulo is a city of heavy coke and coffee drinkers, but we also have great natural juices made with fresh tropical fruit!

  • bananalady

    Bridgeport, CT

    B:Hive Bridgeport, an inspiring shared workspace was founded with a mission to culture a socially-oriented small-business ecosystem in the Greater Bridgeport Region and to become the physical and online hub for this emerging community.

    The 6 folks behind the Park City’s first coworking / retail space are a motley group, a hexagon-like Breakfast Club. We are a graphic designer, a programmer, a visual stylist, a copywriter, a teacher and a city planner. We named our project after some of the planet’s best coworkers, who collaborate endlessly for the good of their own communities, and to the benefit of all mankind.

    B:Hive Bridgeport addresses two very important issue that many solopreneurs and small businesses face: 1) affordable, outfitted space 2) immersive connectivity with other Entrepreneurs, creative talent and collaborative community-facing spirit. Our own experience with the challenge of small business development and the community exposed these issues and drove the initiative to solve them.

    We want to tip our hat to some friends in Detroit, both at the DC3 and the D:Hive, whose efforts in the area in business development, coworking and retail more than inspired our own doings. Thanks to Bethany, Jonathan and the Motor City crew.

  • Julenne Esquinca

    A proud Mexican, sometimes Mexico is often mistaken as a pretty insecure country, poor, lacking of innovation and technology but nothing is as it seems...

    1. Do GOOD-er hub— There are thousands of iniciatives in Mexico but all the way from Mexico's Downtown to the Condesa and Roma streets are plenty of innovative museums and iniciatives. Specially economic and cultural ones.
    Ex. Ecobici (ecobike) The employment fair, Medmobs (Meditation Flashmobs), Verde Vertical (vertical gardens) All the expos at the WTC, every international aid institutions, Secretary of Health, Carlos Slim Health Institute, AIESEC, Human rights, Amnesty International, Museums, etc.

    2. Civic engagement— Usually when you head to Mexico's Downtown you will see a lot of Graffiti and political action in the country, specially in the "Zocalo". Right now we are facing protests against reforms on the educational, economic and oil laws in Mexico.

    3. Local vibes—Definetely the Condesa and Roma streets are filled with little boutiques filled with innovative design by author, restaurants as also the underground artistic scenery in Mexico. Mexico's Downtown is somehow more traditional but yet pretty memorable because you get a glimpse of the real mexican party and life in Mexico City; Mariachis, cantines, and many other things.

    4. Defining moment—The independence day, LBGT community rights parade, museum nights, the international cultures fair, Historic Downtown Festival, Every Sunday Bike at Reforma Street, French Film Festival, German Film Festival, Revolution Day, Condesa-Roma Cultural Corridor, MACO (Contemporary Mexican Art) etc.

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—Horchata (rice based sweet beverage) Jamaica (herb sweet beverage) Cerveza "Chela" (Beer- Corona of course but there are better ones) Tequila, Pulque (a kind of a sticky alcoholic beverage but many people like it, comes in many flavors) and last but not least Mezcal (stronger than tequila).

  • CJMailloux

    Another proud citizen from Providence, Rhode Island - the Creative Capital.

    1. Do GOOD-er hub— Too many to list! Pecha Kucha, TEDxProvidence, Betaspring, Business Innovation Factory, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Better World By Design, Learning401, Wooly Fair, Foo Fest, AS200, Clam Bake, RallyRI, Founders League, Rhode Island Foundation, and universities galore (Brown, RISD, JWU, PC, RIC). Providence is a hub for festivals, food, startups, design, and beyond.

    2. Civic engagement—We know people our people are awake because each of our neighborhoods is awake. We have strong community-based neighborhood associations like the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and Summit and strong partnerships with state-wide organizations like Farm Fresh who bring support farmer’s markets city-wide. The best example of our civic engagement is our recent victory for Marriage Equality, a battle fought both in the State House and door knocking statewide.

    3. Local vibes—Local? Yeah… we’ve got that. Take a stroll down Thayer, Wayland, Westminster, Wickenden, South Main, or Broadway and prepare to be dazzled by the wide array of shops and restaurants that make our city great. Does your city have its own piñata store?

    4. Defining moment—WaterFire. Definitely Waterfire.

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—Our official drink is Coffee Milk – a solid choice. And then of course there’s Del’s Lemonade. Newport Creamery’s Awful Awful is also a must-try. And you mustn’t visit without trying an artisanal cocktail from Cook and Brown, The Avery, or The Eddy….

  • ACTion Alexandria

    Alexandria, VA is not only the second most generous online giving city in the United States (as ranked by Blackbaud); its residents also take the prize for civic engagement. Last year, The City of Alexandria hosted What’s Next Alexandria, a year- long community conversation focused on involving the public in City decision making. Approximately 2000 residents took part in What’s Next Alexandria through community dialogues, online feedback, and public meetings.

    ACTion Alexandria, an online community engagement initiative, has seen firsthand the level of civic engagement demonstrated by the Alexandria community. From bike lanes to toy drives, Alexandrians are overwhelmingly willing to share ideas, take action, and donate to worthy causes. During Spring2ACTion, Alexandria’s day of online giving organized by its community foundation, ACT for Alexandria and promoted through ACTion Alexandria, the community raised almost $660,000 for 97 local nonprofits in just 24 hours. Additionally, through ACTion Alexandria, community members donated over 3,920 items for Alexandria’s nonprofits and took 651 actions to support local nonprofits.

    Outside of Alexandria’s commitment civic engagement, Alexandria is simply a wonderful place to live. Visit Alexandria, Alexandria’s Convention & Visitors Association, markets Alexandria as extraordinary. Between its proximity to DC, it’s gorgeous waterfront , the historic 18th and 19th century architecture, the active art scene, and the destination shopping, Alexandria truly is a GOOD and definitely an extraordinary city to live, work, or visit.

  • lestandia

    Dayton, Ohio.
    1. Garden Station, UpDayton, PK nights
    2. Bathroom stalls of Blind Bob's
    3. 2nd Street Market, Pop-Up Shops
    4. Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Urban Nights
    5. Coffee from Ghostlight, Press or Boston Stoker and/or hand crafted cocktails from our local mixologists.

  • Lauren Modery

    I'm sure you've already got Austin on this list (where I live), so I'm going to nominate Ithaca, New York (where I went to college and near where I grew up). Ithaca, NY has ALWAYS been on the forefront of progress and innovation. It may be a small town, but it has a lot of chutzpah. Besides having the oldest and longest local currency system ("Ithaca Hours" started in 1991 as a way to encourage growth in the local economy; it still exists, though it's not as widely used anymore), Ithaca was an early adapter of car-sharing and boasts one of the most impressive year-round farmer's markets. In 1997, local activists helped to create the Ithaca Health Alliance- a community-based cooperative to help offset healthcare costs for its members. Ithaca is also a wonderful town to experience nature with several waterfalls, parks and Cayuga Lake to walk through and around.The list goes on and on.

  • buffalover

    Buffalo, NY.

    So many awesome local projects: MAP (Massachusetts Avenue Project), The Wash Project, Essex Street Art Center, the Foundry, the Buffalo Infringement Festival, etc

    Innovative local events/businesses: City of Night, Tour de Farms, Five Points Bakery, Elmwood-Bidwell Producers-only Farmers Market, West Side Bazaar, etc.

    Cohesive neighborhoods: Allentown, Elmwood Village, Hertel (Little Italy), Grant Street, Parkside

    History/Architecture: Delaware Park/Parkway System, Forest Lawn, Richardson-Olmsted Complex, not to mention downtown

    Growing green movements, very bikeable (due to GOBike Buffalo's efforts)

  • Paula von der Heide

    See Jonah Lehrer 12/17/2010, NY TImes, "A Physicist Solves the City" (alt., "A Physicist Turns the City Into an Equation")

  • VK (@PVDpops)

    PVD, RI

    simply put, Providence gives you the freedom to chase what you want without requiring that you compromise the ability to sustain yourself.

    more specifically:
    - cost of living low enough to try out some wacky ideas without falling into financial ruin
    - greenspace-y enough for you to find a place (within the city) to get away
    - close enough to beaches & mountains if you need that in a larger dose
    - built-in resources (tons free & open to the public) at Brown, RISD, JWU, AS220, Steel Yard, etc etc etc
    - a huge artist - maker - cyclist - thinker - reader - sharer - doer community that's close and personal enough for you to actually feel connected
    - the food. you like to eat, don't you? PVD's restaurants / cafes / food trucks / farmer's markets aren't gaining national recognition for no reason!

    ... and wait! it's close enough to BOS and NYC so you can visit those and remember how you're *not* stuck paying thousands of dollars just to live in some horrible closet somewhere while working 4 jobs so you can "sort of" pursue your dreams 2 hours a week. and if you *are* doing that, then you should move to Providence already and stop being such a sucker for the urban dream that doesn't even exist! BOOM.

  • Jessica Herron

    A vote here for Providence, Rhode Island!
    1- there's a hub in Providence for anything you're into. There's the Betaspring startup accelerator community ( ) with side-events such as designer meetup groups and Pecha Kucha, there's the sustainability/business innovation crowds with the awesome conferences Better World by Design ( ) and Business Innovation Factory ( ), if you're a student there's great community around Brown University, RISD, and Johnson and Wales- each outstanding schools in their fields. Oh and if you're a foodie- there's the totally awesome food truck scene ( ) helped along by a RI entrepreneur who started a national network of them with .
    2- I've often found civic engagement at the parks in Rhode Island or along the river that cuts around the base of the college hill through downtown, along with Kennedy Plaza, the central bus-hub and park of downtown Providence. One of the exciting signs of the growth of the city is the plans the city has for reinventing the space, in order to give the space the possibilities for deeper engagements of the community.
    3- the best example I can think of would be Cluck!, an urban farm supply store that, while it was trying to open, got bogged down in legal troubles and was about to throw in the towel. The local community rallied around it and raised enough money to help with its problems and it's now a great part of the community! ( )
    4- The defining moment for this city would probably be Waterfire: every Saturday evening in the summer, much of the city gathers around the river that, as I mentioned, flows between college hill and downtown. There, in the river, great iron baskets are set at regular intervals in the river, which are filled with wood and, as the sun sets, are lit. Classical music is played over loud speakers and every food vendor and toy hawker comes to feed the Providence residents who line the river's concrete sides to watch the bright fires that are set in the water all the way down the river. Gondolas will even take some passengers or performers down on the water! It's a great event, an intimate moment of reflection for the whole city.
    5- I could be wrong here, but I'd probably have to say the Narragansett beer, named after our bay!

    • Rosie Spinks

      This is great. Thanks for your thoughtful input on Providence!

  • Rosalie Murphy

    Cleveland, Ohio -- have worked, hiked, eaten, drank, driven, walked, biked, cheered, and met wonderful people there, and it's a special place!

    For a rust-belt town on its way out of pretty severe economic depression, the city's downtown is on the up and up. Community displacement isn't an issue, because new apartments/restaurants/offices/etc are simply filling up old warehouses ( Hometown pride businesses, like Akron's Rubber City Clothing (, are some of the best-known shops in the city. New restaurants open downtown every month, including lots of gluten-free, vegan and gourmet options (Michael Symon has several). Unemployment remains high, but young professionals are still flocking to jobs at the Cleveland Clinic and its University Hospital (one of the U.S.'s leading cancer research centers) and at cultural centers like the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University. The art museum is one of my favorite places in the city. They host fantastic community events -- parades, chalk festivals, swanky parties, film series -- almost every week, and admission is always free. It draws an incredibly diverse, friendly crowd, and it's a lot of fun.

    Cleveland's LGBT scene is growing rapidly; the city will host the Gay Games in 2014 ( We're just minutes from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (; the tenth-most popular in the country! Its old Italian, Polish and Slovenian neighborhoods are still culturally vibrant. New immigrant communities, especially from Southeast Asia and Latin America, are growing too. We haven't won a major-leage sporting championship since 1948, but Indians and Browns games are still universal gathering places, because Clevelanders are nothing if not dedicated. And our drink of choice: Craft beer from our own Great Lakes Brewing Company, carried in almost every restaurant here (

    All this is to say that people in Cleveland really love Cleveland. Maybe we're just conditioned to defending our city, but I seldom hear complaints from city dwellers. They're here because they want to be, and they care deeply about improving it, and that lends it an awesome ethos that I haven't found anywhere else.

    • John Wynn

      Fellow Clevelander here...I couldn't have said it better myself!

  • jtemplin

    Another vote for Providence, RI. Moved here 8 years ago from Manhattan. It has an incredible mix of artists, activists, entrepreneurs and innovators.

  • sofiefiekvist


    Besides being my hometown i believe that Copenhagen offers a variety of possibilities, initiatives and places to meet and engage.
    From local art exhibit places like MOHS in the neighborhood of Vesterbro, which is located on our park strip Søndre Boulevard, also the home of Café Dyrehaven and numerous other great places, such as Sort Kaffe & Vinyl (just off Søndre Boulevard) - the local coffee and vinyl pusher, the best there is! Over to spots like Christiania, the home of many artists in the city and also the home of the alternative venue Loppen - to the venue and work shops area of Mayhem in Nord Vest, where you'll find many of the super alternative shows in the city. The list of exhibits, venues and eateries is miles long and so is the list of wonderful streets and parks. One in particular to mention is the street Jægersborggade in the hood of Nørrebro. This street is one collective, who have managed to turn it from a backside alley to one of the most interesting and vibrant spaces in the city, having everything from artists, coffee shops, direct vending of meat and veggies etc. from local farms and even a Michelin starred restaurant (which is affordable!). Street signs are made by the local community and just off the street, in the amazing park strip of Nørrebro Park there is a large community garden as well as one of the biggest playgrounds in the city. If you go to the other end of the street you'll find yourself at Assistens Cemetery, a quiet resting spot in the middle of the city, a former burial grounds, now a park - here you'll find the graves of many famous danish authors and other celebs, one is H. C. Andersen.
    The city also hosts a bunch of events that are worth visiting, such as Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Festival of Endless Gratitude, Trailer Park Festival and many more.

    One of the best things about Copenhagen is that it a small metropolis. It has a broad variety of offers, within very short distances - especially if you jump on a bike, like most of the population in the city chooses to do everyday, going to work, going out, going to the beach - the bike is always first choice!

    The list goes on and i will be happy to continue this if anyone is interested.

    • Adele Peters

      Totally agree- Copenhagen is one of my favorite cities, too, especially because of the bike lanes, and the smart Climate Action Plan, which rethinks adaptation to see how flooding could actually be an asset for the city.

  • lnatusch

    New London, CT! We have community gardens sprouting up everywhere, an artists' cooperative and other studio spaces, an indie bookstore, a thriving music scene, colleges, two gay bars, a peace and justice network, a great beach and a waterfront downtown. We have Soldiers and Sailors Monument where people protest or--as one of our locals sometimes does--hold a clear sky blue sign. We have a natural foods co-op with over 1000 members and three weekly farmers markets in season, a mid-winter arts extravaganza with an unjuried show, music, film, indie fashion and a 24-hour playwriting festival, and a wealth of locally roasted coffee. All this in a city of under 30,000!

  • joejoewalz

    Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul - they have some competitive distinctness. Just point to websites that demonstrate it:
    1) communities voted to make a Legacy- Arts, Nature, Heritage -
    2) Art community is thriving- theater, museums, events- this community event brought 40k eople out dusk til dawn -
    3) Volunteerism- high percentage of people volunteer- innovative like this-
    4) Bikeable- Minneapolis is one the most bikeable cities in the US, St. Paul needs to catch up
    5) Parks- Highest city for being in proximity to parks, a national park in the city on the river
    6) Educated- Highest college educated population

    Its a pretty amazing place to live, there is light rail line going up about 6 blocks from here that will be connecting both downtowns next summer. Farmers Markets galore, and a thriving Couchsurfing community that does some rediculously fun events- next week we are having Fall Picnics every day of the week.

  • esther.yatesabrams

    No city is Good unless you can get around quickly, easily, and with a minimum of pollution, resource use, expense, and accidents. For public transit, I would like to nominate Curitibo, Brazil, because not only is its transit fast and efficient, they did it on a shoestring.

  • Rob Matthews

    Chicago. Obviously. Has everything minus those who like to smell their own farts.

  • Ronan Leonard

    Cork in Ireland, it's a classic second city. In terms of European accesibilty, we're an hour from London, 2ish from Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam etc

    due to apple, amazon and siemans being based here we have a large multinational and multi cultural population.

    whilst a city, we really are a very large town in mentality. You can walk from city limit to city in about 60 minutes at a stroll.

    we have our own stouts, and while all the highstreetification is happening, we have plenty of independently owned businesses whose profits in turn stay in the city.

    speaking of profits, while the economic collapse of Ireland has hit us as hard as elsewhere, it has been worse in other parts of the county.

    we have an arts college, a university, several third level post education options and an institute of technology.

    we also have two of our own stouts (none of that dublin guiness muck)

    and we are going to win the all-ireland in hurling next Saturday.

    as we say here, How bad!

  • javalava

    Have you considered the dangers of using any data-driven approach? By definition they can only quantify SAMENESS - what has already been accomplished. This is only half the story. Even if that sameness is really desirable, surely it is the UNIQUE qualities of each city which make its character and, therefore, its value amidst the cities of our planet.

    Using data is appealing, and would be fine if we were not concerned with living systems. To the extent a city has an identity its inhabitants accept and encourage, I believe a city is a living system ("Life" here, is defined as the system's continuing capability to be and become itself.) Putting a city into a category with others whose DESCRIPTIONS are similar, tells us about what the city produces (its mechanism) but nothing about what it is (its organism).

    Cities are NOT replicable. Each one is inherently a one-off. (Life is not replicable either, which is why no scientist can ever say what life IS. Replicability is what makes scientific truth and the scientific method so valuable.) If we embrace a science-based (data driven) approach, we are embracing science's conundrum, also.

    Science cannot recognise life as a valid phenomena because it cannot study any phenomenon that is NEVER the same as itself nor anything else. Cities have the same problem. Science can only study classes and categories: things that are shared, non-unique. Being alive implies a certain unboundedness, unpredictability. When something is ALIVE it has the potential to change, autonomously redefining itself. Life cannot sit neatly inside categories. It tends to spontaneously make new ones. That's one of the most interesting aspects of cities, too.

    As it cannot be classified or replicated, a city (or even the creative, living people that comprise it) cannot be considered as a significant influence upon any phenomenon found in the data. The LIFE of the city or the people within it are not available to a scientific approach. So if you wish to use the collected data, make sure it is not to prove anything, back an argument or test an hypothesis. Unless, of course, you are happy to throw the city's life out of the window too, which I doubt.

    However, all is not lost. Historians. for instance, use data quite differently and their studies are very applicable to living, unique systems like cities. Perhaps we should look there instead for suitable models and approaches to this interesting question?

  • PegJohnston

    Binghamton, NY, a rustbelt city that has lost half its population, most of its industry, and the only way is up from here. Defining moment has to be monthly Art Walks which have revitalized and given us hope for people on the streets and encouraging creativity. Big Art/Little City is new tag line on City Hall. We have a Binghamton Lab group, a Maker's Space, and other groups. We are engaging in a new 10 year plan in a cool and engaging process called We have a local dish: "spiedis"--skewered, grilled meat, Mmmmm. And a very popular Restaurant Week that supports the growing number of local restaurants. Much potential. We are hopeful.

  • Jessica Gore

    I think this has a lot to do with planning. I was fortunate enough to be educated in Ft Collins, CO, a city that takes pride in its planning efforts and sustainability....

  • synecticsworld

    There is a new book coming out called "Turnaround Challenge: Business and the City of the Future: The New Role of Business in Delivering Sustainable" by Michael Blowfield and Leo Johnson. It is not out until next week (Sept 26th), it might be useful in adding a another perspective in doing this. One of the authors, Leo Johnson, did a TEDxNewman talk which gives a glimpse into the thinking. Might be worth a look.

  • Robin Rowe

    Here is another way to think about cities:

    It helps to understand what makes up a city and comparing those underpinnings to other cities gives new insight.
    Richard Saul Wurman, Radical Media, and Esri bring you the Urban Observatory—a live museum with a data pulse. You'll have access to rich datasets for cities around the world that let you simultaneously view answers to the most important questions impacting today's global cities—and you. Compare and contrast visualized information for a greater understanding of life in the 21st century.

  • rstanenas

    Milwaukee is recognized by the USA Today newspaper as the top 10 US Urban cities advancing the ART Community. Sat. Sept. 21 the Mayors Office will honor a the Milwaukee Community with the unveiling of an ART Sculpture in the City Hall.
    Milwaukee is reviewing developing a merger of Entrepreneurism and ART. .Marquette University of Engineering has recently announced the merger of MIAD Milwaukee Institute of ART Design for inventions. Various Incubators with the SBA offices are duplicating weekly to promote the Milwaukee sharing of ideas to become the Urban City of Entrepreneurism. The preparation for the Wisconsin Governors Business contest for 2014 =$100,000.00 and the entrepreneur teen contest of scholarships is gearing up throughout the community.

  • andypvd

    1) PROVIDENCE, RI (Business Innovation Factory/BIF Summits; TEDxProvidence; A Better World by Design; Startup Weekend Providence; Hasbroathon first global toy hackathon; Betaspring startup accelerator; PechaKucha Night Providence only city in the world that has done every month since its inception; Artifact conference; Monthly "Clambake" event for design + art communities, Monthly Providence Geeks meet up, to name but a few); 2) Providence is an artists' dream when it comes to creative space to vent, create and make (e.g., AS220 and it's Broad Street Studio, Fab Lab and studios for printing, etc.; New Urban Arts; The Steel Yard, etc.); 3) Whether its urban gardening at Cluck! or local artisans having their work sold at Craftland, Providence offers a wide array of "buy local" options throughout the city; 4) We have so many and on such a regular basis, too (e.g., TEDxProvidence, BIF Summit, A Better World by Design, daily farmers markets in and around the city, PechaKucha Night Providence each month, Foo Fest and Wooly Fair pop-up festivals, etc.); 5) We have a number of local pick me-ups ranging from the local "coffee milk" to local beers such as Revival Brewing Co., Narragansett, and Trinity IPA.

    • owenjohnson

      I will add my voice to andypvd's and the other folks who have commented about Providence. I've lived in several major metropolitan areas, including Berlin, Germany, and visited many more, and I've chosen to make Providence my home over the past 11 years because it combines all of the amenities of a larger city with the benefits of a smaller town. On top of all of that Providence has a massive community of artists, innovators, and foodies; with some of the best and most accessible food in the world. On top of all of that, access to the outdoors, especially the ocean make Providence a wonderful place to live.

  • jamestrojas

    We should not fall into this trap of a Good City Index. All people live in a good city or aspire to and it's giving them that access to shape their city is what is important. Every month I traverse the US working in barrios, ghettos, and "white" hipster neighborhoods. Each place is different and can't be compared.

  • Ronan Leonard

    Cork in Ireland, it's a classic second city. In terms of European accesibilty, we're an hour from London, 2ish from Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam etc

    due to apple, amazon and siemans being based here we have a large multinational and multi cultural population.

    whilst a city, we really are a very large town in mentality. You can walk from city limit to city in about 60 minutes at a stroll.

    we have our own stouts, and while all the highstreetification is happening, we have plenty of independently owned businesses whose profits in turn stay in the city.

    speaking of profits, while the economic collapse of Ireland has hit us as hard as elsewhere, it has been worse in other parts of the county.

    we have an arts college, a university, several third level post education options and an institute of technology.

    we also have two of our own stouts, beamish and murphys, so there's the tipple of choice criterium fufilled! (none of that dublin guiness muck)

    and we are going to win the all-ireland in hurling next Saturday.

    as we say here, How bad!

  • gregfromfargo

    Fargo. Its a wide open canvas with energy, potential, talent, art, and a sense of place. Love my city!

  • Brooke Candelaria

    I think a hugely important factor is the diversity of its people and cultures they bring with them. Houston, Texas has been named the most diverse city in the US - it's easy to see why when you move here from another city. Also, I think what makes a good city is its expression - that is, are there quirky, artsy things that are an outward expression? Lots of artists, notable style in the buildings/parks/window displays/people, amazing graffiti, urban gardens, art installations, unusual bike paths. I guess that's sort of a branch of number one but the visual component helps define a city. Personally, as a transplant to Houston, I rate this city way up there, even if our big issue is the growing pains.

    • Rosie Spinks

      Good point Brooke. One of our quantitative measures is the number of immigrant groups represented in a given city

  • Jenny Beorkrem

    I own two small businesses in Chicago and believe that if you DO head out beyond the lakefront (i.e. Gold Coast and Lincoln Park), I'm proud to say that most of our neighborhood business districts do still have a Main Street - like landscape. Sure they might be dotted with Dunkin or Starbucks (of course) but the mainstays tend to be locally owned and/or family businesses that have been there for decades. As compared to other cities of its size and density (NY and LA) Chicago offers affordable living and work space. Although my first business is largely online, I wouldn't have been able to afford starting a business in either NY or LA. Sure, working with the city has not always been easy, but I truly believe that thanks to affordable space and an underlying Midwest attitude to "help your neighbor", the entrepreneurial and small business community in Chicago is unmatched elsewhere. I agree that yes, there are social issues that Chicago may be trailing other cities of its size, namely gang violence and public education but I do think Chicago is a great place to live and do business and is headed in the right direction.

    • JMOChicago

      Jenny, I'm familiar with your businesses and I love Ork/Foursided. But Lakeview IS one of the wealthiest zip codes in the City. The median family income in that immediate area in Lakeview is $108K. I'm talking about mom & pop businesses and neighborhood schools in areas with more rental units than houses, etc. You also have the great benefit of having an upstart, progressive alderperson in Pawar...but he is an outlier, not the norm. I've lived in Chicago since 1988 and for most of my years here, I've loved it. I've experienced the many layers of it through my own experiences or those of close neighbors/friends. Chicago for a white, middle-class, college educated professional with no children living in a handful of zip codes is pretty awesome. But for the majority of Chicagoan's, the city provides an experience of waiting for someone to throw scraps your way. Good cities are those who are good for MOST of its citizens, not just for the childless/those who can afford private school/can afford a specific zip code/etc. Under this Mayor, Chicago has been sliding backwards, not moving forwards. I respect your right to disagree.

      • Jenny Beorkrem

        FYI, my business is not Foursided, it's called Neighborly and features products sourced from Chicago and the Midwest. We're in the Ravenswood neighborhood not Lakeview, which is decently affluent but is more rental than ownership, median household income is $57k. I came to Chicago with nothing, but yes a college degree, and I started my business when Schulter was in the office, not Pawar, although I don't feel my local alderman had any effect on my ability to start a business in this city. It really is the cost of doing business, considering the space I need to make my product, that is what makes Chicago so accommodating, from a business owners perspective, besides the supportive community.

        • JMOChicago

          My apologies for my mistake. Am familiar with Ork, not with Neighborly. Kudos for your success. I also arrived in Chicago with nothing but an undergrad degree in 1988. I believe that Pawar has had much of an effect on the 47th Ward in attracting and keeping the demographic which would support Ork and (now that I've seen the website) Neighborly.

          I respect your different point of view. And the people who I work with couldn't afford to live in Lakeview, or Lincoln Square, or much of Ravenswood. They work hard also, many at 2-3 jobs. Their neighborhood schools are being defunded and overcrowded. Police are slow to respond to their neighborhoods when a crime is committed. Now even the relatively successful middle class Chicagoans who have kids in CPS schools are feeling the impact. We have fewer public and low cost health centers. Much of civic engagement and interacting with city government is shifting online, which is wonderful for the tech connected and shuts out the less tech connected. Private corporations and universities are getting facilities funded with tax dollars that are skimmed off from the school and other common good budgets. This is a problem.

          Don't misunderstand me. Chicago is a great place for one group of Chicagoans, and is eroding for another group of Chicagoans. The second group is getting larger, unfortunately.

    • creativepotential

      Beset with poverty and poor air quality, Fresno, California produces most of the food that the world consumes and food insecurity here is at epidemic levels--still, our vibrant ethnically diverse community produces the annual F.U.S.E. (Fresno Urban Sound Experience) Festival each year, bringing thousands to small unlikely urban venues to hear local bands and buskers as well as the annual Rogue Festival-a 2 week fringe fest of staggering proportions, the Swede Film Festival, where popular full-length films have been "sweded" down to bite size beauties, as well as the REEL Pride Film Festival, one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ events on the west coast. Experience all of these events with a local Tioga-Sequoia IPA, Armenian coffee, traditional beerrock, Hmong Pho or one of the hundreds of local wines (yes, WE produce most of the grapes consumed in the U.S.)--within a short drive to Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We're just fine NOT being LA or SF, our equidistant neighbors, we're GOOD at being Fresno.

  • nikkiturner

    Sarasota, Florida is emerging as a relevant city in the southeastern US. Located on the Gulf coast of the state, we have award-winning beaches ( Our county government has set a priority to aggressively preserve parks and natural areas (check out this 2005 voter-approved referendum allowing increased spending on important green space We have a vibrant art scene with several independent theatres, which include Asolo Repertory Theatre, The Players Theatre, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (owned and operated by the City of Sarasota), Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota Opera House, and the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe. Our annual Sarasota Film Festival and the Chalk Festival are pretty neat, too! Also, we just won the bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships - this is like hosting the Olympics of the rowing world!

  • Peter Kuhns

    Here in downtown Indianapolis major changes in the past five years have reached a welcome tipping point:

    1. Local vibes: the most visible, and welcome, changes have occurred along the South side of downtown, specifically the new Cultural trail (a beautiful bike trail) and the re-birth of Fountain Square. Other parts of the city have received equal amounts of shovel-ready love.

    2. Defining moment: The bubble bursting in 2008 was a major focal point for everyone. The entire city - all 3800 sq miles of it (!!) - focused on clawing itself back from the abyss.

    I'm too married (and old) to know the pick-me-up of choice but it seems downtown is just as cool for going out as the forever-reigning champ known as Broadripple.

  • JMOChicago

    There is such an important measure missing from this initial list, and that is the City's investment in all people. In social supports (health care, including mental health), community safety/health, and well-funded/resourced public education. This is where Chicago falls down...hard. If you head out beyond the lakefront, look beyond the slick marketing, have kids or a small corner business, there is not a lot here for you right now. Access, safety, support and enrichment is provided for some, but many are left with scraps because of the skewed priorities of the Mayor, the City Council, and the State. It is quite sad, because Chicago has always had so much potential, but it is sliding further behind in the "Good City" measures because it cannot find the balance it needs to make it a better city for more of its citizens.

  • Alla Baskakova

    Visual appearance of the city and its surroundings. Architecture and nature, parks and playgrounds for kids, organized transportation are very important.

  • BobboSphere

    Don't forget the importance of being a mixed income city. Some of the "coolness" that attracts people with some disposable income is what drives out low income working class people. How do we solve that problem? I can tell you from personal experience, which includes many street protests, sit-ins and strike support actions, that Chicago sure ain't got the answer.

    • Rosie Spinks

      Thanks for that BobboSphere. Though it doesn't address incomes specifically, one of our quantitative measures that's not listed in the post above is the racial diversity of a given city (i.e. how many immigrant groups are represented). While it's true that racial diversity doesn't imply integration of socioeconomic classes (LA would be a good example of that), we hope this measure will touch upon what you point out.

  • seabreezn

    Portland Me. & surrounding communities . We have a large populace of artists , small indy shops , incredible restaurants ( voted the 2nd biggest Foodie city per capita in the US ) There are free programs you can join an barter your time for healthcare , painting in your home , gardening etc = whatever you need & can contribute to gain hours to then get what you need ..Many organic farmers markets ..check it out Folks . Luckily I was blessed to be born in this Port town , but traveled far to eventually come back to appreciate it even more . Google/Bing the area and see this thriving , giving , artful , excepting of diversity community .

  • Elan Ong

    There's the Mercer index


    the Happiest & Healthiest Cities in America:

    but to me, it's about community engagement, and together, as a community, doing good. So, I definitely support the top 2 principles: civic engagement to define/articulate the vision, and the civic do-GOOD-er hub to get the vision done.

    • Rosie Spinks

      Thanks for those resources. And glad to hear you agree with our top principles.

  • Jeremey Horan

    this is a great idea...if GOOD or you Rosie are looking for a unique way to integrate this information into a broader platform with wider to Airbnb. They have Neighborhood Guides on their site that are quite one dimensional. This seems to compliment that quite well and would be a way to tie in a social impact or awareness piece to the airbnb site.

    just an idea. I like the discussion so I just need the $$ to visit some of these places.

  • CSteel

    Although it's small (1800 year round residents) Dawson City, Yukon in Northern Canada is the most inspiring, engaging, and vibrant community that I have ever lived. Here's why.

    1. Yukon School of Visual Arts and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture are always inspiring places to get involved with. Or make a trip to the Free Store at the local dump. Or get inspired by the great working relationship between the Trondek Hwechin First Nation and the City of Dawson. Or simply by walking down the street and having a conversation with one of the town's many characters.

    2. Huge volunteer culture. People exist in this town to help each other out. You can always find another individual or an organization to support your great idea.

    3. Great small farmer's market in the summer, along with new artisan market that just started this year. Bonanza Market- great small grocery store. Zoro's Cantina- late night sausages! I could go on...

    4. Dawson City Music Festival, Dawson City International Short Film Festival, Yukon Riverside Arts Festival...just to name a few

    5. We do like our libations. Pearl Necklace martini from Bombay Peggy's or a Black Label in the Pit Tavern.

  • Tracy Patton

    Marfa, TX
    1. Small enough for each person to matter.
    2. Art and creativity thrive.
    3. Big, empty expanses of space nearby to explore and reconnect with self and nature. (Tip: Check out Big Bend National Park.)
    4. Incredible, starry nights. (Tip: Visit McDonald Observatory.)
    5. Great music scene and delicious food.

  • Laura Braden

    Sacramento, CA (and specifically the Midtown neighborhood)!! So many reasons why, but here are few...

    1. We have three great collective work spaces, Hacker Lab (, Urban Hive ( and Capsity ( and a really innovative arts incubator, Flywheel ( and design market, GOOD (

    2. Sacramento is the capital of California so it's not uncommon to see daily protesters and rallies (representing all points of view) at Capitol Park.

    3. Downtown, Midtown, Curtis Park, Land Park and East Sacramento all place a premium on locally owned businesses, farmers markets and co-ops. Midtown (, in particular, is a the most centrally located neighborhood and filled with progressive shops, galleries, bars and restaurants.

    4. So many! Farm to Fork (, Midtown Cocktail Week (, Launch Festival (, Concerts in the Park ( and Startup Weekend ( are some of the standouts.

    5. Sacramento has been nationally recognized for it's cocktail scene but we also have a ton of wine bars (since Lodi, Amador, Napa and Sonoma are so close), local craft beers and even a cider brewery ( Not to mention some of our crazy good, artisan coffee shops.

    I moved here in 2006. I've lived in DC, San Francisco and Tennessee but Sacramento is my adopted hometown. Can't say enough about how wonderful this place is - the people are friendly, laidback and collaborative. The weather is amazing 10 months out of the year and we're within a 3 hour drive from some of the most beautiful spots in the world (Tahoe, Big Sur, Yosemite, etc).

    • Rosie Spinks

      Wonderful! Thanks for you input

  • Nicolle Weeks

    1. Do GOOD-er hub—Cafes around the city

    2. Civic engagement—How do we know people are awake? City Hall / Yonge street are places for protest. There's always the April 20th pot protest, ha.

    3. Local vibes—So many great neighbourhoods - The Junction, Roncesvalles, Leslieville

    4. Defining moment—TIFF and NXNW, but also Canadian Music Week

    5. Pick-me-up of choice—Apparently Toronto has the best iced coffee. We have a drink here called the Caesar which is a version of the Bloody Mary. Bourbon is big, too, and we have a Bourbon festival happening in late Sept / early Oct

    • Rosie Spinks

      Thanks—great highlights!

  • pmagarro

    That's great-- it's something I'm considering as I contemplate a relocation sometime in the next decade.

    • Rosie Spinks

      Tell us where you're thinking of relocating!

    • Rosie Spinks

      Hey pmagarro, that's a good idea. Above is a portion of our criteria (lists the qualitative measures only). So in our full assessment, we will take into account health indicators like time off from work, green space, and access to local food.

    • Casey Caplowe

      Tell us more. What makes Jerusalem so great for you?