Some might say it’s hard—impossible even—to rank cities according to culture, but a report created by the Mayor of London and a British consulting firm does just that.
"Istanbul is both an ancient and modern city. Its first Neolithic settlements date from 8,500 years ago. The Greeks founded Byzantium there in 700 BC, before it became, as Constantinople, the eastern capital of the Roman Empire, and then the capital of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries. Now, although Istanbul is no longer a capital, it is the largest city of a fast-growing nation-state. Its location on the Bosporus makes it a bridge between Europe and Asia."
"Shanghai has emerged from its turbulent twentieth century of war, occupation and revolution as mainland China's largest city and commercial capital. Its size, relative wealth and position as a major port have long made it one of the most cosmopolitan of Chinese cities. Once known as the 'Paris of the East', it was home to as many as 70,000 foreigners in the early 1930s,
"Paris has survived sieges, plague, wars, revolution and occupation to become one of the world's great centres of cultural life. In literature, music, cinema and, perhaps most of all, visual art, the city's residents have made huge contributions to cultural innovation. As the data shows, Parisians are also great consumers of culture, supporting a wide range of venues. In its post-colonial phase, the city has also become strikingly diverse and multiracial, opening up further possibilities for innovation and mixing."
"Singapore's decades of rapid growth have made it South East Asia's commercial and trading hub. The city-state is now turning its attention to culture, with an ambitious programme of infrastructure development."
"Sydney's cultural life is a blend of the formal and iconic, represented by its major cultural institutions and the informal, sometimes gritty and challenging activities of its artists and creative communities. Its natural beauty and climate shape Sydney's thriving, distinctive and sometimes surprising cultural life."
"Sao Paulo is the largest city in the Southern hemisphere and the economic powerhouse of Brazil. Its ethnically mixed population have helped give it a diverse, dynamic culture. "
"London is a city that combines a sense of history with cutting-edge creativity and a dynamic pop culture. As one of the most cosmopolitan and tolerant capitals in the world today, it attracts a genuine diversity of people - from radical activists"
"The reunited Berlin is emerging as one of the creative hubs of Europe. Its 'poor but sexy' image has helped attract a vibrant youth culture and a growing high-tech business sector."
"While Tokyo has been Japan's most important city for almost 500 years, its rise to world city status was driven by its remarkable recovery from the ashes of the Second World War. Japanese companies and their famously hard-working staff were responsible for an 'economic miracle' that by the end of the 1980s had turned Japan into one of the world's richest nations."
"New York has long linked its rising power and economic success to investments in arts and culture. The two continue to feed off each other: the city is a giant commercial marketplace for art and creative industries, from art auctions to fashion, design and advertising."
"Johannesburg-Gauteng 1 is uniquely positioned as a city-region that straddles the developed and developing world, and serves as a creative, cultural and commercial gateway to the rest of the continent. It is a driver and hub for cultural and creative production, generating new cultural forms, new modes of production and consumption, and new organisational and business models."
"Mumbai's journey to becoming one of the world's great cities began under colonial rule. After more than a century under the Portuguese, the islands on which the city stood were transferred to the British in 1668, and then leased to the British East India Company, who moved their headquarters there some 20 years later. The city's status as a commercial hub was thus established early, and underpinned its subsequent development. Its port became one of the most important in the region, and traders from across the sub-continent were drawn to live and work there. The city continued to expand after Indian independence and is the largest in the country. It was renamed Mumbai in 1996."