Living in Chile

Santiago makes New York Times list of hip global cities

The accolade reflects the capital city's solid planning measures, its great location and its friendly feel.

Monday, November 21, 2011 Category: Daily life - Culture - World Reviews on Chile
Santiago is “modern, safe and smart”. (Photo: alobos flickr/Flickr) Santiago is “modern, safe and smart”. (Photo: alobos flickr/Flickr)

Santiago has drawn international acclaim once again, this time making the New York Times' list of the world's top 10 “hip” cities.

According to the online article from the respected US daily, being “hip” involves much more than traditional quality of life indicators such as the number of trees or rental prices.

Rather, it's about finding the perfect mix of intelligent planning, prudent management and an upbeat vibe. It's about cities that are, “...in a phrase, both great and good”.

And on the list, Chile's capital draws praise for its ability to blend the best of Latin American culture with the refinement of European sensibility in a “modern, safe and smart” package.

It's not the first time Santiago has earned a special mention in the New York Times and other big names in publishing. Last year the newspaper declared the city the number one tourist destination for 2011, while earlier this month, travel guide producer Lonely Planet included the city in its list of the top 10 urban tourist destinations worldwide.

In the latest article, Santiago scored well on the urban planning front, with laws designed to reduce urban sprawl and protect green spaces on the city fringe described as “exemplary”.

The capital's extensive transport system, which “whisks” more than two million commuters to and from work and school every day, also gets the thumbs up.

Adding to Santiago's appeal is its proximity to both the coast and the Andes, along with the myriad, colorful downtown neighborhoods.

“Beautiful old cultural jewels like the library and fine art museum are dwarfed by serious commercial skyscrapers,” the article said. “The smell of local food, good and inexpensive, brings life even to the streets of its financial district.”

The New York Times list was topped by New Zealand's enigmatic Auckland and European cultural giants, Berlin and Barcelona.

Other cities to make the cut included Cape Town, Copenhagen, Curitiba (Brazil), Montreal, Shanghai, and Vilnius (Lithuania).

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