Monocle last month declared the Finnish city of Helsinki, to be the Most Liveable City in the World. Granted, a subjective awarding of this kind is always going to meet with varying degrees of controversy, but what is it about this Northern Capital that won over this publication?
An unorthodox but well-deserving champion, 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.
We, having visited Helsinki, agree with much of the justification for celebrating their independent and forward thinking progress in recent years - design thrives in its public spaces, for such a small Nation many of it's global exports: Marimekko and Nokia are very much design focussed and its traditional through to contemporary architecture exude a distinctly Finnish aesthetic, that said, it seems that the liveability measures didn't really touch too heavily on the importance of climate and seasonal changes on quality of life.
Whilst the embracement of design ("Embedding Design in Life"), a healthy push in responsible urban development and the sheer scope of big picture public works afford Helsinki admirably strong culture and design cards in Monocle's review, we'd have thought aspects such as recreation and climate are surely imperative in awarding a location "Most Liveable" -- be it from a European perspective or otherwise!
World Design Capital 2012 is all well and good but with winter days averaging -5'C through to -20'C we'd probably say the following of Helsinki:
Likeable: Yes. Loveable: Definitely. Most Liveable? Hmmm...
But perhaps that's just us...Helsinki is a truly beautiful city, click here to watch the Monocle short film and decide for yourself. Click here to view Helsinki's "Embedding Design in Life" film that helped secure them the title of Design Capital 2012.