The wait is over | Monocle

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  1. Helsinki
    A city that is genuinely and fundamentally bettering itself, this well-designed capital in the north leaps up to number one for bravery alone.

  2. Zürich
    Still the ideal place to live and work (and grab summertime swims in your lunch break), Zürich retains a spot in the top three.

  3. Copenhagen
    Its ongoing commitment to being the world’s greenest city continues to gather momentum, despite Denmark’s slight lurch to the right.

  4. Munich
    Last year’s winner slips out of the top three not for doing anything wrong but not doing anything new.

  5. Melbourne
    The perfect balance of balmy summers and serious business, Melbourne is finally addressing its shortage of housing.

  6. Vienna
    The sleepy fairytale city in the middle of Europe has toughened up with two of the continent’s bravest urban regeneration projects.

  7. Sydney
    A burgeoning business district and an increasingly profitable retail sector, sunny-side-up Sydney continues to shine.

  8. Berlin
    We’re still waiting for a world-class city to emerge from under the tarpaulin and construction works, but there’s plenty to enjoy in the meantime.

  9. Tokyo
    The next 12 months will be a testing time for Tokyo, yet its population has the problem-solving bravura to deal with its troubled situation competently, punctually and innovatively.

  10. Madrid
    Stifling summers and high unemployment doesn’t deter the Spanish capital’s can-do attitude, as it unveils a series of urban projects set to transform the city.

  11. Stockholm
    Lean and green Stockholm needs to take a few more strides forward architecturally to get back in the top.

  12. Paris
    This year’s unique electric car rental scheme is set to be the game-changer, which the city’s Vélib’ concept once was, yet (thankfully) little else changes in Paris.

  13. Auckland
    Last year, the city’s seven small councils unified to create one dynamic force that is set to improve quality of life for Aucklanders even more.

  14. Barcelona
    Spending cuts are set to tighten their grip on this Mediterranean city, yet its happy-go-lucky spirit will no doubt keep it afloat.

  15. Singapore
    The population is on the rise and the country’s politics and tolerance are slowly improving. Changi’s tops too.

  16. Fukuoka
    Better connected than ever with the new Hakata station, Japan’s sunshine city is firming up its position as one of the country’s key conurbations.

  17. Hong Kong
    One of two new entrants in our list, the island comfortably slips in on the grounds of its connectivity, business edge and its sheer dare.

  18. Portland
    The outpost in the US northwest sits even more comfortably in our index this year, nominated for its transport developments and ongoing commitment to getting green.

  19. Honolulu
    All that sun hasn’t gone to Honolulu’s head, and the city is on track to becoming the ideal business hub between Asia and America. APEC’s there this autumn.

  20. Vancouver
    The Winter Olympics jumpstarted Vancouver and it has proved a hit as faras the finer things in life, yet the city has yet to address its lazy attitude to contemporary architecture.

  21. Kyoto
    It may not have embraced the future as readily as its younger brother Tokyo, but Japan’s ancient capital still charms.

  22. Hamburg
    Germany’s second-largest city ploughs on with its sprawling HafenCity development, yet the city needs to protect its cultural sector.

  23. Lisbon
    Portugal’s had a tough year, yet Lisbon is bouncing back with an entrepreneurial spirit and by making the most of its links with superpower Brazil.

  24. Montréal
    Plenty to commend it, Montréal needs to address its transport problems: it’s one of the most miserable places to commute in.

  25. Seattle
    A new entry in our index, the bustling home of Starbucks has plenty going for it, including a brave new light-rail system.

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