The Deceptive Business of City Rankings

A new report by planning consultant Zach Taylor exposes the politics behind the scenes of "Best Cities" lists. Taylor believes the motives behind all the parties involved are often not transparent.

The study, titled Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: A Critical Examination of City Ranking Studies breaks down the types of "best cities" reports into those based on economic success, ranking livability, and those on the cost of doing business:

"The business cost- and livability-oriented reports are commercial products sold by consulting firms to other corporations on a for-profit basis," writes Taylor in the report.

"These reports have a narrow purpose -- to help multinationals determine hardship allowances for expatriate executives. Unfortunately, these studies are often misrepresented in the media. For example, focusing on well-off expatriates' experience of local residents, yet such rankings are often taken as general indicators of a city's economic performance or livability."

Full Story: Why Ranking Cities Can Be Such a Tricky Business


Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month