Cobble it up - Issue 29 - Magazine | Monocle

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When it comes to city planning, factors such as infrastructure, sustainability, housing and transport always top the list. But where is cosiness? It’s an under-rated character, key to quality of life and creating liveable neighbourhoods.

And we’re not talking twee. Cosiness is subtle – it’s about secret nooks and alleys, sensitive and to-scale street lighting, warm interiors, chain-free streets, well maintained parks, and an urban landscape that reassures with a modest and intimate architecture. We still want our cities to be complex and ambitious – we just want cosiness to be recognised too.

We took a tour of our favourite cosy places, from the cobbled streets of Rye in England to the handicraft studios of Kyoto, stopping off in Stockholm, Vienna and Copenhagen along the way.

01: Stockholm

Cosy credentials

Dignified housing, broad roads, winding side-streets, a great food market – Stockholm is forever welcoming. Walk along the waterfront to bring stress levels right down – then have lunch at PA&Co.

02: Vienna

Cosy credentials

Queen of the cosy, Gemütlichkeit touches Vienna everywhere, from the city’s rich architecture through to its dramatic bridges and old school cafés and bars. It’s a place to lose an afternoon in – a whole life even.

03: Kyoto

Cosy credentials

Wander around the intimate cobbled backstreets and discover artists’ studios, workshops, boutiques and bakeries. Warm wood and great light complete the cosy vibe.

04: Rye, England

Cosy credentials

Quintessentially English, Rye, in East Sussex, seems like it’s from a bygone era thanks to its whimsical signage, thriving antiques market, delicious delis and historical architecture.

05: Copenhagen

Cosy credentials

Perfectly turned out and polite, Copenhagen always charms with its creative spirit, elegant buildings, lively waterfront and affordable restaurants. It’s a city of bicycle rides and kanelhorn.

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