Architect Ed Calma's 10 Favorite World Cities

We love to visit them again and again.
IMAGE Corey Leopold

1-2. Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland
These cities are, for me, the best of the lot. They’re so easy to move around. The weather is perfect in the summer. As a tourist, you can buy one pass to access all transport systems and the museums. The new developments within the city center in Helsinki were sensitively designed to weave seamlessly into the old. The architecture of Alvar Aalto still exists and the structures are well maintained.

Stockholm, Sweden

Helsinki, Finland

3. Barcelona, Spain
You can walk the whole day in this city enjoying not only the architecture but the design of urban details like its manhole covers, streets, sidewalks, and signage.

Barcelona, Spain

4-7. Melbourne, Australia; Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; London, England
These cities have evolved into livable places that move people efficiently. They have successfully integrated different types of mass transport systems—from traditional trams to high-speed trains—into the city fabric. You can walk to a transport station within 10 minutes. There are bicycle lanes for every road built. Their parks and urban furniture are designed by artists, architects, and designers. Existing lakes, rivers, and waterways are protected from pollution and insensitive development. Architecture and urban design committees composed of leading architects, planners, and artists are consulted in order to preserve buildings of architectural importance as well as to protect the character and scale of the city without compromising city development.

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Melbourne, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Paris, France

London, England

8. New York City
You would never think that any large scale developments could still develop in this city, but the since the High Line was built the Meatpacking District and the Chelsea area have become a center for new architecture.

New York City


9. Tokyo, Japan
This megalopolis has still kept its traditional values of city planning. Century-old parks are still kept as evacuation centers for earthquakes and major fires or disasters. It's a city full of signs that you could never get lost. It’s one of the safest cities in the world that children can walk safely to school on their own.

Tokyo, Japan

10. Copenhagen, Denmark
This city is famous for its clean water that it shipped a tanker full to the 2010 Expo in Shanghai and filled a pool with it to demonstrate its commitment to protecting its environment. They also shipped the original Little Mermaid. Its citizens are also shifting to bicycles as the main mode of transport to get around the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Alicia Colby Sy
Executive Editor, Town and Country
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