Cape Town - How do you measure the true worth of a city and its ability to not only inspire its local residents but also the people that visit it?
For the second year in a row, the Good City’s Index seems to have collated an all-inclusive list of metrics that poignantly defines the inspiration factor of 50 of the world’s cities.
On its website, the organisers state the list is “a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility”, warning that as you wade through this year’s index you will notice trends, quirks, contradictions, and a few surprises.
But the overriding quality it aims to make apparent is inspiration, as it encapsulates the “ethos of citizens creatively engaging with their surroundings with the expectation that, with a little work, things can get better”.
We have to admit, we love how each city’s level of inspiration seems to be measured on an altogether different benchmark, deep-seated in local perspective and knowledge that might not be readily apparent on an international scale.
We are especially proud of Joburg for making it into second place, since Joburg is consistently seen as the lesser of the two cities when compared with South Africa’s enigmatic hotspot Cape Town.
In the Good Cities index, Sylvia E K McKeown celebrates Joburg for things like its civic engagement, which includes the launch of an Inner City Metro Park that now provides residents with a safe green and community-oriented space that has an outdoor gym, next-generation play equipment, five-a-side sports grounds, an amphitheater area, and the first mobile Wi-Fi library.
Streetlife culture is also seeing a massive revival, with the Newtown Junction forming a big part of it. The developers of this mixed-use space worked closely with the South African Heritage Resources Agency to preserve the area’s heritage structures in order to see it become a major cultural hub within the city.
Joburg has also inspired with its 5-kilometer bicycle track and sidewalk along Orlando, Soweto, giving township residents a safe route to visit 12 schools, two clinics, a police station, several churches, and the famous World Cup soccer stadium. But that’s just the beginning stage of a four-part initiative which aims to create a 120 kilometers of safe cycling lanes that will connect many corners of the city, including Orange Farm, Ivory Park, and Soweto, the city’s largest township.
But the defining moment for Joburg according to the Mckeown, is the city's approach to the harrowing reality of a rat infestation resulting in a one-month-old township baby having its fingers and toes eaten by a rat. Barn owls, while superstitiously regarded in certain of the city’s communities, have been introduced with the intent of getting rid off the rats. While the NSPCA has had to deal with misinformed residents attacking owls, the initiative has largely been seen as a positive solution to improve quality of life within the townships.
Here are the Index's 20 Most Inspiring Cities and click here for full index and the interesting back-stories of each of these inclusions...
1 - Hong Kong
2 - Johannesburg, South Africa
3 - Mexico City, Mexico
4 - Delhi, India
5 - Nairobi, Kenya
6 - Istanbul, Turkey
7 - New Orleans, United States
8 - Budapest, Hungary
9 - Dakar, Senegal
10 - Beirut, Lebanon
11 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
12 - Montreal, Canada
13 - Belgrade, Serbia
14 - Melbourne, Australia
15 - Berlin, Germany
16 - Santiago, Chile
17 - Detroit, United States
18 - Christchurch, New Zealand
19 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
20 - Seoul, South Korea