Hong Kong has topped Good magazine’s list of the world’s 50 most inspiring cities.
The magazine’s second annual Good City Index celebrates the cities that best capture the elusive quality of “possibility”.
It defines this as “the pervading sense that though a place may be far from perfect, its citizens are taking a bold stake in its future through a mixture of creativity, hustle, and civic engagement”.
Hong Kong’s Occupy demonstrators “showed the world that impassioned protests could be conducted with the utmost civility,” Good said.
It said that while the city promotes freedom of speech yet enforces strict public property laws, “the Occupy Central movement has changed that, as art, music, dance and other forms of cultural response flowered in the occupied areas. Most prominent is the Lennon Wall, inspired by the original John Lennon Wall in Prague, where protesters wrote messages on colorful paper to form a ‘wall’ of positive slogans”.
Good observed that, “Use of public and green space during the protests has shown a city respectful of its property. Odd sprays of graffiti were immediately scrubbed away by volunteers, while protesters used washable chalk to scrawl political statements on the sidewalks … The city’s green spaces and rare squares of grass are also valued: protesters took care to keep off the grass …”
The magazine was also impressed by the fact that “many protesters gave up their own responsibilities to lend their skills to the cause. Those in the education sector offered classes to students within the occupied areas, setting up impromptu classrooms and lecture areas, while nurses and trained medics volunteered at the dozens of first-aid booths”.
Other Asia-Pacific cities in the top 20 are Delhi, India (No. 4), Melbourne, Australia (No. 14), Christchurch, New Zealand (No. 18) and Seoul, South Korea (No. 20).
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