Criteria to Rank a City (Finding The Best Quality of Life)

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From the desk of Harsh Strongman
Subj: Attributes and Factors to rank a city

Attributes to Rank a City

Cost of living: How much do you need to spend to live a decent life. Some cities are very expensive (In big western cities rent alone will cost $5000 or more) while others are very cheap (You can live a great life in $1000 a month in most parts of India).

Air and water quality: How good is the air and water? Is it clean or do you need an air purifier? Personally, I do not like going to places with lots of air pollution. If I have to go there, I minimize my stay as much as possible.

Population and space: Some cities are much more crowded than others. Since I grew up in a very crowded part of India, I like being surrounded by people and I find empty places strange. You might prefer cities that have much more solitude and space.

Language: Do other people understand you? As an English speaker – I wouldn’t want to move to a place where almost no one spoke English.

This stuff is enjoyable as a tourist, but if you actually have to live there – the language barrier becomes much more frustrating.

Sanitation and cleanliness: All cities have some amount of hygiene issues. The question is – How much dirtiness can you tolerate? I grew up in India so I’m pretty used to seeing piles of dirt and trash on sides of roads. People who grew up in the west find it very unsettling.

Family: Do you have any family living there? Some people love their families and can’t live without them while others hate their family and are trying to move away from them.

In my opinion, you should prioritize family. You can make a lot of money, date lots of girls, be extremely successful and STILL feel alone and suicidal.

Law and order: How safe is this place? Do you have to worry about getting robbed?

Dubai wins this hands down. You can be a woman carrying a pot of gold on your head and no one will try to rob or molest you.

That said – there is such a thing as too much law and order. Sometimes being able to grease some palms really increases quality of life (if you know, you know).

Quality of people around you: I considered moving to a rural part of India for a more natural life, but changed my mind when I realized I’ll be surrounded by less than well educated villagers who have nothing going on in their life. Regular readers are already aware that you have to control your environment because you become like the people around you.

Taxes: Obviously low taxes is preferable to higher taxes. But it’s better to pay a bit more in tax to get much better infrastructure. The worst of the bunch are places with high taxes and terrible infrastructure.

Closeness to nature: Can you go on hikes and enjoy nature regularly or are you forced to spend months in the concrete jungle at a time? Do you prefer a beach city or a mountain city?

Personally I like trekking and exploring the countryside.

If you’re into this type of stuff, I highly recommend reading my guide on what to do if you get lost in a forest.

Weather: Again, a totally personal preference. Some people prefer hot places while others prefer cold places.

Food: Another preference. I recently spent some time in South India. The people were friendly and the place was beautiful. But it was too hot and I’m not a big fan of the food (I need my paneer and besan rotis) so it was not for me.

I enjoyed my time in the south but I was so tired of eating rice, pineapple, and fish. By the end of it, I was craving a paneer tikka masala.

Infrastructure: Things like road quality, presence of restaurants, gyms, parks, theaters, malls, and other places that impact your life in the city. Some people like modern places (me too) while others like a more spartan villager existence.

Home sizes: Will you have a mansion, an apartment, or will you live like a cockroach in a pod like the people of San Fransisco.

Walkability and public transport: Can you walk from place to place or is it mandatory to have a car? How good is the public transport infrastructure? In some places, you can’t even get groceries without having to drive 20+ kilometers.

I spent some time in Gangtok earlier this year. I found this city to be walk-friendly.

Traffic and traffic rule obedience: Relevant if you have to commute to work. If you work from home, this doesn’t play much of a role in your life.

Child related infrastructure – Parks, schools, etc.: More relevant to people with kids. Very important to consider if you are BUYING a house (and not merely renting).

Spirit and friendliness of people: Some places the people are warm and make you feel included. In other places, you always feel like an outsider (even if you know the language) – Japan is a popular example.

I was living on a friend’s property and we were just exploring the area. Since it was a village, there were no restaurants. We were living off of non-perishables like instant noodles. The villagers realized this and would invite us to their house for homemade meals. They made us feel like home and refused to take any money.

Racism: In some places you will literally be made victims of crime because of your nationality, religion, or ethnicity. For example, in most Islamic places – they look favorably upon committing crime against non-muslims. Unless you are a Muslim, you do not want to step into someplace like Pakistan.

Airport: Personally I refuse to live anywhere where it’s hard to get to an airport. No airport makes it too difficult to get out of the city to travel and have some fun.

Vibe and party scene: If you’re into drugs and the party scene, something like Bangkok or Miami would be much more to your liking than Sharjah or Mumbai.

History and beauty: If you’re into that sort of thing. I like modern glass buildings but some people viscerally hate it. Some want the old town vibe.

Some places are more beautiful and have more historical value than others.

Religion: My Jewish friends say they will never never move to a place that doesn’t have a synagogue. This significantly limits where they can live.

Dating scene (Hotness and sexual availability of women): Most men want to date and have sex with lots of women. If you are a single man, you probably don’t want to move into Taliban’s Afghanistan. If you hate dark skinned women, you wouldn’t want to move to Nigeria or Kenya.

Most single guys prefer westernized cities where women will sleep with them for the cost of a few dates or less.

Note: If you’re trying to get laid a lot, pick a tourist town. They are perfect for your needs as new women are always coming and going. You don’t need to worry about breakups because the tourist will eventually leave anyway.

That’s pretty much it. If you’re looking to change cities, this should give you a very thorough criteria to analyze your options. Always pick the best one and go where you’re treated best.

– Harsh Strongman

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