Best city in the world?
You have to go way up north if you want to enjoy the fruit of the best city in the world: Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki, which is located in southern Finland and has a population of 590,072, tops the annual Quality of Life index of the British lifestyle magazine Monocle. Helsinki rose to the top from fifth place in 2010 in this index that lists the 25 best cities in the world according to factors that go beyond basic economic and social criteria, focusing on aspects that can bring happiness and ease to everyday life.

The magazine describes Helsinki as an unorthodox but well-deserving champion, saying, “The Finnish capital stands out for its fundamental courage to rethink its urban ambitions, and for possessing the talent, ideas and guts to pull it off.”

Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen is pleased with the ranking. He says, “We have worked a great deal to make Helsinki a healthy, functional and enjoyable city for both residents and visitors. I am happy about this remarkable recognition.” Helsinki outperformed Zürich at number two and another Scandinavian capital, Copenhagen, at number three rank. Munich, last year’s winner, took fourth place.

Helsinki is the World Design Capital 2012 selected by the Icsid, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design at the World Design Congress in Singapore in 2009. Helsinki is the third city to hold the biennial designation in 2012, following Seoul, Korea in 2010 and Torino, Italy in 2008.