23-03-10 // MOST VALUABLE URBANISM
“Call for Submissions”- Poster for MONU #13, March 2010
Most Valuable Urbanism
By Bernd Upmeyer
In sports, a Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is an honour typically bestowed upon the best performing player or players on a specific team, in an entire league, or for a particular contest or series of contests. Initially used in professional sports, the term is now also commonly used in other completely unrelated fields of endeavour such as business. Microsoft, for example, uses MVP to mean Most Valuable Professional. In that sense the term could also be applied to urbanism. The question would then be which city might be the most valuable, producing the most valuable urbanism and what kind of criteria should be applied to define valuable urbanism.
As a matter of fact, several lists ranking cities that judge their supposed qualities already exist. One of the most famous lists of that kind, defining the so called “most liveable cities”, is produced for example by the American human resource and related financial services consulting firm Mercer, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s or the Canadian magazine Monocle. According to Mercer the most liveable cities in the world in the year 2009 were Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver, and Auckland.
This new issue of MONU aims to critically analyse the established ranking lists and their criteria that are primarily being used by internationally operating companies to determine where they will open offices or plants and how much they should pay the employees. MONU #13 seeks to reflect on established quality criteria such as safety, education, hygiene, recreation, political-economic stability, and public transportation. What might be other criteria and to what kind of rankings would those other criteria eventually lead? Should a city such as Vienna really be our role model and ultimate urban prototype?