November 13, 2014

Welcome to the 50 Most Inspiring Cities in the World

The heartbeat of a city is a difficult thing to measure. Some, like physicists Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt, say you can measure a city by the precise pace at which its citizens walk. (In fact, they’ve developed an entire mathematical equation to do so.) Others think a city’s true worth lies in the cost of its housing, or the growth of its population, or the fiscal outlook of its property developers. At GOOD, we believe that a city’s heartbeat is best measured in “possibility”—the pervading sense that though a place may be far from perfect, its citizens are taking a bold stake in its future through a mixture of creativity, hustle, and civic engagement.

For the second year in a row, we present the GOOD City Index, a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility. Wade through this year’s index and you will notice trends, quirks, contradictions, and surprises. But more than anything else, you will notice inspiration. Some will come from spectacular gestures, like the iconic Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and some from more humble moments, like the streetlight project being rolled out in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. But each will share an underlying ethos of citizens creatively engaging with their surroundings with the expectation that, with a little work, things can get better.

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The 2014 GOOD City Index