Mixed useI think my perfect city would be somewhat different than Byrne's -- smaller, probably, and greener. But I like the idea of thinking through all the different qualities that make a good city. What is most important to you?
This is a Jane Jacobs phrase. A perfect city is where different things are going on, relatively close to each other, at different times of the day. A city isn't a strip of hotels and restaurants on a glorious beach; it's a place where there are restaurants and hotels, but also little stores, fashion boutiques, schools, houses, offices, temples and banks. The healthy neighborhood doesn't empty out at 6 p.m., as most of downtown L.A. does. In my perfect city there would always be something going on nearby.
I'll have to think about which specific qualities matter most to me. In the meantime, I can list some of my own favorite cities I've visited.
Abroad: Amsterdam; Barcelona; Dublin; Liverpool; Montreal.
In the U.S.: Athens, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Madison; Portland; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.
Of course there are a lot of place I haven't been, so this list is not yet even close to comprehensive or complete.