Copenhagen’s popularity is clearly on the rise. From the Guardian telling its readers to move to Nørrebro, to being the setting of hit TV shows featuring jumper-wearing detectives and female prime ministers, the city is apparently able to do no evil.
That assessment was only confirmed this week when researchers at the French statistics agency, Nantes Applied Research (NAR), found Copenhagen to be the Most Desirable Best City in the World.
NAR’s verdict is based on a meta-analysis of top city rating surveys that also applies qualitative data from social networking sites that the agency bought from data-mining companies.
“It is important to recognise the countries that regularly achieve high positions in these surveys,” chief researcher Jean-Luc Moreau told The Copenhagen Post. “Copenhagen might not top the list every year, but its dedication to global excellence on a number of fronts has led to us concluding that it is in fact the world’s very best city.”
NAR gives the accolade to the city that most successfully manages to maintain a leading global media image while also keeping a steady stream of positive comments, status updates and tweets. Powerful algorithms then churn the data, applying a variety of other important indicators such as quality of life and political transparency data, before one city rises to the top.
“The idea is to try and rule out fads and passing trends in the results,” Moreau said. “We saw this in the Economist’s ‘World’s Most Liveable Cities’ survey for 2011 in which the Canadian city of Calgary was ranked fifth. Do you actually know of anyone who has been to Calgary? No, I didn’t think so.”
The three major ‘best city’ surveys – from Monocle and Economist magazines and human resources firm Mercer – made up NAR’s core data. And then the addition of social networking data made NAR’s result stand out from the rest.
“Lots of cities are really rather boring places, full of corporate signage and little true character,” Moreau said, adding that Denmark’s low growth, high taxes and poor setting for international business allowed the city to keep its cosy, slightly run-down look.
Moreau also explained how Denmark’s famously strict immigration laws are actually a blessing in disguise for the city.
“When judging the reputation of a city, one of the most important factors is authenticity,” he said. “There are not a lot of foreigners on the streets to interfere with tourists having a genuinely Danish experience.”
Two of the most commonly discussed positive themes on social networking sites was the attractiveness of the women and the ease of cycling, and often they overlapped.
“We noticed many threads on social networking sites where men encouraged others to visit the city simply to bicycle behind women on cycle paths,” Moreau said. “It seems the experience added enormous value to their lives. We don’t really understand why.”