Zurich tops Copenhagen as most livable city: index

Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:29am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Switzerland's financial capital, Zurich, has beaten Copenhagen to take top place in an annual index of the world's top 25 most livable cities.

In its third annual quality of life index, London-based global affairs magazine Monocle found that the Swiss city was the number one urban location to call home, pushing last year's winner Copenhagen into second place.

Tokyo came in third place while Munich -- which topped the first index in 2007 -- fell to fourth position, followed by Helsinki.

Rounding out the top 10 were Stockholm, Vienna, Paris, Melbourne and Berlin.

Monocle editor-in-chief Tyler Brule said it was a tight race, and admitted Zurich did not jump ahead for its nightlife.

"I think people need to remember that this is a quality of life survey. This is not a survey about the sexiest city or the best business hub in the world, or the world's cultural centers. This is about true livability," he told Reuters Television.

He said the index was based on a number of measures, including investment in public transport, public safety, health, education, and the number of cinema screens in a city.

"We also look at the relationship a city has with its small and medium-size enterprises and Zurich scores incredibly high across all of those areas," he said.

Brule said it was forward-looking investment in Zurich's transportation infrastructure that ultimately pushed it to the top of the 2009 index -- and a relative scarcity of chain stores was also a mark in its favor.   Continued...

<p>People walk along the Limmat River in front of the Grossmuenster church in the Swiss city of Zurich April 20, 2008. (EURO 2008 PREVIEW) REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>