WROCLAW, Poland--I have been swanning about Eastern Europe for the better part of two months, wandering the streets of cities large and small, famous and obscure. As should be apparent to anyone short of Toby Keith or James Inhofe, even the most undistinguished European city could teach any American city a thing or two about charm, walkability, and gracious living.
It's been a great week for city planning here on the East Coast. The American Planning Association's 99th National Conference held in Philadelphia drew more than 6,000 attendees, a fact noticed by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Inga Saffron in her April 13th column titled "Welcome, Welcome City Planners," where she took the opportunity to draw local and national lessons from the event. The APA opened with Robert Kennedy's address on environmental planning and closed with an exploration of the legacy of Edmund Bacon (Philadelphia's director of city planning from 1949-1970), but more about that later.
Here's an item that should be more than enough to make you spew your morning latte all over the Starbucks:
In a survey, conducted last year and released yesterday by Mercer Consulting, ranking the top 50 global cities by quality of life, not a single American city cracks the top half. Zero.