Harry Lime (r) would appreciate London's seedier qualities
The Economist Intelligence Unit, which studies metrics such as healthcare quality, culture, environment, and infrastructure, produces a yearly report highlighting the cities that excel most in such criteria, and for 2008 the Smoke registered 51st. The only other British city above it was Manchester, which crawled in at number 46, causing one normally respected broadsheet to splash with a headline straight out of the schoolyard book of taunts: Manchester 'better than London'.
Topping out the list are a bunch of familiar suspects: Vancouver, Vienna, and Melbourne rank the top three, while a cluth of other Canadian and Australian cities, alongside various Scandinavian and central European conurbations, round out the top twenty. While we're sure such places are indeed wonderful to raise children and live out a life of calmness and torpor, the high placing of both Zurich and Geneva reminded us of that famous speech by a certain Harry Knowles...
""You know what the fellow said—in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
We'd choose London over any city on the list, "warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed" and all.