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The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Right up our street

Right up our street

Over the coming days, my colleagues will be putting the last pages of our forthcoming July/August issue through the editorial obstacle course that sees articles cut, expanded, gently trimmed, fact-checked, cut again, triple checked and, finally, sent to press. By now you’ll know that our summer double issue celebrates everything that makes urban life succeed and is also the edition where we name our most liveable cities.On Tuesday I got my first glimpse of the extended shortlist in the very empty TGV carriage that whisked me to Paris. Like most years, we’ve done a remix of metrics in an attempt to open up the top spots. But the problem with these rankings is that the best cities are very difficult to knock out of the top five – no matter how hard we try. When we expanded our HQ in Zürich four years ago, I was quite vocal about the fact that the city was too slow and cumbersome when it came to granting our café team permission to open a sidewalk terrace. With a little pressure, we got there in the end but it was a struggle that created a new metric for our quality-of-life ranking: “ease of opening outdoor space and allowing the F&B sector to flourish”.Like many cities, the use of outdoor space for drinking and dining became a flashpoint in Zürich as terraces were closed, then reopened, expanded, collapsed and, in many cases, completely rethought. While little good has come from the pandemic period, one bright spot has been Zürich’s enlightened take on how to reboot the F&B sector, while also forcing fresh thinking about what makes a neighbourhood work.

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