For our annual cities listings, Metropolis took a novel approach to avoid the typical ranking: We surveyed 80 leading architecture and design professionals, asking them to nominate places in three categories—design powerhouses, buzzing cultural hubs, and cities that inspire or personally resonate with them.
Even now, it’s hard to imagine a list that wouldn’t include New York, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo. But there are still some surprising happenings in the world-famous metropolises that often run counter to their popular imaginaries.
And the innovative, the shocking, the avant-garde, still pervade all price points and scales in our powerhouses, as the cities act as meeting points for regional (and increasingly, global) design processes.
But with serious concerns related to affordability, the erosion of local culture, equity, and gentrification occupying a growing position in local and global discourse, especially in these highly globalized cities, it’s the responsibility of decision-makers—as well as design’s jet-setting, hypermobile elite—to guarantee reasonable affordability for their inhabitants and the maintenance of local culture in the face of a homogenizing globalization.