The Reputation Institute has produced its list of 2012’s top cities by reputation. According to Reptrak. RepTrak destination studies dive deep into the emotional bond between stakeholders and destinations by quantifying the degree to which people Trust, Admire, Respect and have an Affinity for a city or country. The company based its figures on a model that uses three groups of information: direct experience, what the city itself says and does, and what others say about the city. In turn, the company measures three outcomes: advanced economy, appealing environment and effective government. Thirteen categories, including ‘beautiful city’ and The data came from an online survey of the general public of G8 countries, and only those respondents who described themselves as ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ familiar with the cities mentioned had their responses included. The survey was conducted in April and May of 2012, asking 18, 000 people.
RepTrak argues that their data indicate that reputation directly translates into ‘hard’ benefits: according to the company, ‘a 5 point increase in place Reputation leads to 12% increase in Tourism Receipts and 7% increase in direct foreign investment.’ The Reputation Institute has published its list of the top ten cities in the world by reputation. Unlike liveability reports, the RepTrak report is intended to show how cities look in the eyes of the world. The company covered three bases of a city’s reputation, advanced economy, appealing environment and effective government, to build a picture of a city as it appears in the eyes of the world. Across April and May of 2012, 18, 000 people were polled from the G8 countries’ general public, and the result is below: the top ten cities in the world by reputation.
No. 1: Vancouver
Located on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver scored highly in all the areas polled. Only Vancouver and Sydney came top in all three lists: respondents called them the best places to live and work and the best governed. Vancouver was the overall winner, the city with the world’s best reputation. In a statement accompanying the results, Tourism Vancouver president Rick Antonson said he believed his city’s placing was due to ‘our reputation as a city where all nationalities gather comfortably, where over 40 first languages are spoken in the average school, where perhaps 50 per cent of our population has English as a second language and in our having a deep-seated respect for varied religious views.’ Vancouver is also one of relatively few cities to share a winning spot with its home country: Canada came out of the polls as RepTrak’s most well-reputed country too.
No. 2: Vienna
Vienna beat out Vancouver in the beauty stakes, unsurprisingly, and in other surveys from this year, including the Economist’s ‘liveability’ study, the city came first. But it lost out to Vancouver for RepTrak’s top spot because Vancouver, while it couldn’t compete convincingly with Vienna’s heritage in the ‘beautiful city’ stakes, had a wider ‘range of appealing experiences’ and the ‘progressive social, economic and environmental policies’ Mr. Antonson spoke about. The score still leaves Vienna ahead of the world’s ‘megacities,’ like Tokyo and New York.
No. 3: Sydney
Sydney bucks one trend ‘that of Europe dominating the top positions’ even as it reinforces another. Environmentally-conscious, small-to-midsize cities consistently outperformed larger conurbations in this year’s results. Sydney’s high performance, gaining 73.01% overall in the report. Another trend Sydney personifies is that of high-placing cities having high-placing educational facilities: Sydney University hit the world’s top 50 this year too.
No. 4: Copenhagen
Copenhagen has a reputation for having a good reputation, to the extent that when the Copenhagen Post heard of the RepTrak survey, the paper ran with ‘Copenhagen Doesn’t Have the Best Reputation’ technically true, but the city did come 4th in the world and first in Scandinavia, and the gap between number one and number four is only 1.26%. It’s a city with high expectations of itself, in a country that feels the same way – and with good reason; Denmark contributed number 5 on the list too.
No. 5: Oslo
Denmark’s capital sits just below its main port on the list, in a top ten that’s strongly skewed towards North-West Europe, with some outliers. Oslo’s city government kept the survey in perspective. ‘We are surprised at the score, but that is because we are modest,’ said Oslo’s Mayor, Fabian Stang. He added a note of friendly rivalry with neighbouring Sweden, saying that ‘the important thing is to beat Stockholm!’
No. 6: Barcelona
Spain has been hit hard by the financial crisis and has its own set of problems with its banking system and real estate market. But the G8 public seemed to forgive this, placing the Spanish city just under midway up the top ten, despite house price slides and an ECB bailout in progress. The city scored highly for its beauty, but even its home country came out only 8.5 percentage points behind the city itself, bucking a trend that saw cities from poorly regarded countries regarded as entities in their own right and often scoring much higher than their countries.
No. 7: Florence
Like Vienna, Florence makes the top ten on the strength of being relatively safe and in the ‘beautiful city’ category. Its renaissance heritage means that many public buildings effectively double as art galleries, or artworks in the case of the San Lorenzo library, designed by Michaelangelo. The city’s ‘beautiful city’ score was 80.73, the second highest in the survey. Where the city fell down was in the number of people who would recommend others to invest there, scraping only 55%.
No. 8: Venice
Venice regularly tops lists of the world’s most beautiful cities, but it frequently underscores in lists of the world’s most liveable cities. Subsidence and lack of investment together with tourist demand for rented accommodation harm the city’s quality of life, but RepTrak respondees agreed about its visitability (81.36) and, of course, its beauty, with the highest score in the survey (81.03).
No. 9: Stockholm
Stockholm is Sweden’s capital and Scandinavia’s largest urban area. It offers predictably cold winters along with spacious boulevards, vibrant (if expensive!) nightlife and parks, along with thriving business sectors reflected in respondees’ opinion of its investibility’ 66.38, the highest score in this category on the survey.
No. 10: Melbourne
Australia’s second-largest city and the world’s most liveable, according to the Economist’s survey of 2011 – and 2012, Melbourne might be in at number 10 but its scores are the most consistent of any city in the survey – it places respectably in all categories, without any of the sudden drops in certain areas of reputation that show up on other cities’ scores.