Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is #11 on The 2014 GOOD City Index.

This year marked the first full year in office for Buenos Aires native Pope Francis. Born in the working-class neighborhood of Flores (hence his local nickname, “Pope of Flowers”), the new pope has provided a spiritual boost and raised the global stature of his home city. But despite this uplift, inflation has worsened in 2014 and the value of the black market U.S. dollar—sometimes called the “blue dollar”—has climbed to nearly double that of the official exchange rate. Earlier this year, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner also proposed moving the capital of Argentina away from Buenos Aires. While most say it was nothing more than a political maneuver, the plan drew on the long-held tension between European-style Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. Nevertheless, residents of Buenos Aires endure, protest, and innovate. An unassuming music teacher named Santiago Pusso has been leading the charge against the government’s plans to build new developments, like a proposed 18-story hotel next to the Santa Catalina church. And, in August, anti-debt protesters took to the city’s streets to challenge U.S.-based “vulture funds” amid Argentina’s economic woes. While the citizens of Buenos Aires are already known for their ability to sit back and enjoy life, 2014 showed that they are certainly not taking their capital’s future for granted.

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