City Index cemented Time Out’s status as the city-living experts. It resulted in an unprecedented 15 page special in the 22 Nov 2016 London issue, countless PR spin-offs and extensive online coverage. It’s since been repeated and enlarged in 2017 and 2018.
What got everyone so excited? From all the info we gathered, we found five key criteria for a city to seduce its inhabitants:
Buzz: An inspiring plethora of things to do. Even if life can be stressful (dating in New York, crime in Mexico City), a city’s dynamism outweighs these worries.
Food and drink: Great restaurants, great bars.
Diversity: Not just its people, but a variety of neighbourhoods to explore.
Work/life balance: People in the highest-rated cities work three hours per week less than those in the lowest-rated. But staying up (and drinking) all night can make people jaded; party-mad Sydney and Miami don’t make the top ten.
Friendliness: Plenty of smiles and a willingness to chat.
So which city topped the list in 2016? Chicago ticks all of the above boxes. People living there have their work/life balance nailed: they enjoy a night on the town 6+ times a month, take strolls around different areas of the city, make frequent trips to the gym and are partial to a chin-wag with a stranger. After so much activity, they get more sleep than any other city, so they can do it all again the next day.
“This study was fun in so many ways, from Tapestry’s engaging survey design right through to the final results. Tapestry instinctively knew what we wanted, and the level of detail combined with the big picture findings was impressive. It has been one of the most important pieces of research we’ve done and we couldn’t have chosen a better partner for it.”