The 20 Best Cities On The Planet

Tokyo japan at night
Tokyo topped the ranking with impressive technology, economy, and an ability to attract talent from all over the world. Shutterstock

With globalization, climate change, and social and economical challenges, today’s world cities need to adapt like never before.

The IESE Business School in Spain is out with its annual Cities in Motion Index (ICIM), which ranks the world’s best (“smartest”) cities — those that have the highest levels of innovation, sustainability, and quality of life.

This year, Tokyo came in first with its impressive public management, technology, economy, and the ability to attract talent from all over the world.

To establish the ranking, researchers studied 135 cities across 55 countries, and based their results on over 50 indicators along 10 different dimensions including governance, public management, urban planning, technology, environment, international outreach, social cohesion, mobility and transportation, human capital (ability to attract talent), and economy. (You can read more about the categories and methodology here.)

Of the top 20 cities, 10 are European (London, Paris, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Zürich, Basel, and Geneva), six are in the U.S. (New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Baltimore), three are in Asia (Tokyo, Seoul, and Osaka), and one is Oceanian (Sydney).

Below is the full list of the top 20 cities:

  1. Tokyo
  2. London
  3. New York
  4. Zürich
  5. Paris
  6. Geneva
  7. Basel
  8. Osaka
  9. Seoul
  10. Oslo
  11. Philadelphia
  12. Los Angeles
  13. Dallas
  14. Copenhagen
  15. Eindhoven
  16. Amsterdam
  17. Sydney
  18. Stockholm
  19. Chicago
  20. Baltimore

Out of all 135 cities researched, Barcelona is the metropolis that made the best progress overall, moving from 63rd to 51st place in only two years, according to IESE.

Santo Domingo in Cuba ranked last, mostly due to low ratings in transportation, technology, human capital, and economy.

After Santo Domingo, the bottom cities were mostly in Brazil, including Fortaleza (133), Recife (132), Brasilia (131), Belo Horizonte (129), Porto Alegre (128), and Salvador (127).

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina was ranked 134, La Paz, Bolivia was ranked 130, and Caracas, Venezuela was ranked 126 to round out the bottom 10 cities.

You can also see an interactive map of the cities in each country by going to the IESE Cities In Motion Index 2014 website.

IESE Top Cities index 2014