Anyone been to Copenhagen or Berlin?

I read today that Copenhagen has been crowned the best city in the world in a survey of global urban treasures, and that Berlin got the award for best for culture.

Unfortunately I have not been to either. Do you agree with the judges results?

The Danish capital was awarded top spot for its quality of life and status as a cutting-edge design centre, said the authors of the report, which looked at factors from the ease of buying a good glass of wine at one am to the quality of architecture and the number of cinema screens.


Researchers at the London-based lifestyle magazine Monocle praised the city’s compact planning, its “frictionless” transport system and infrastructure, as well as its contemporary buildings, topnotch restaurants and renewed focus on environmental issues.

The last characteristic was crucial in Copenhagen’s promotion from second place in last year’s standings to first place in 2008, they said. “As the planet becomes an increasingly urban place, delivering these life-improving essentials to cities big and small is proving more than a challenge,” said Tyler Brule, Monocle’s editor-in-chief. “Radical environmental initiatives that pull cars off streets can do wonders, but can also kill off passing trade.

“New developments, designed to attract investment, can not only boost local fortunes but also drive out all those people that made the city interesting in the first place.”

In a further accolade, Copenhagen was proclaimed the design capital of the world, with researchers hailing the return of a buzzing scene which had not seen such creativity since its heyday in the 1950s and 60s.

Researchers advised the more artistic traveller, meanwhile, to head to Berlin, which they labelled the world’s best for culture. The German capital’s art galleries have made it an “unparalleled” cultural hub, the magazine said, adding that cheap studio space and a 24-hour scene were attracting artists and designers from around the globe.

For city planners and bureaucrats there must be some interesting reputation lessons if you read the word choices, metaphorically speaking. The emphasis on environmental issues are thought provoking.

Most competitions are perception based, and as they say there are objective and subjective reality. At this stage, my reality is subjective, as I have to base my opinions on what I am reading.

What has your experiences been like in those cities?