The 2009 Lemonade Havens

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19th Jan 2009

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Hub Culture's annual Zeitgeist Ranking is on the way, and this year's preview is focused on five Lemonade Havens - cities where the current credit freeze means not so much.  When the markets hand you lemons, these are great places to sit back, chill, and turn those lemons into lemonade.

Similar to the 2008 Warm List, this preview seeks to highlight what's up and coming in 2009. Our key decision-making this year gravitated toward places that embody some sense of economic security combined with fantastic quality of life. These are havens where the living is better than other cities, even without a job. There's something to be said for solid social services in times like these! Not necessarily the largest or the leaders, these are spots where you might have some time to spend on the front porch with a pitcher of lemonade  - without sacrificing your global perspective.  It doesn't hurt that they all feature strong infrastructure, low crime and good natural environments.



1. Montréal

There's definitely a French vibe emanating up, and Montréal is a city for the moment. It is clean and green, features socialized health care, and has become quite the party town, especially compared to New York, which almost seems tame in comparison.  Late nights here lead to lazy mornings with a big fat cappuccino.  It could be worse. 

2. Stockholm

Stockholm is known as the water city, and because of its northern climate features classic Scandinavian design, a friendly and good looking population, and a fondness for pungent fish.  Across the rest of Europe Nordic food seems to be making sudden inroads, perhaps a result of recent improvements back home in presentation and variety?  A laid back independence and socialized public sectors ensure everyone is pretty well taken care of, and the technology scene is holding up.  A great mix.


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Melbourne courtesy Luke Tscharke
3. Melbourne

Like its larger sister Sydney, Melbourne is holding up well as a quiet port in the stormy global economy.  Environmental problems persist, but new developments like the Docklands (Australia's largest commercial, retail and entertainment precinct) are injecting new life into the city. With the Great Ocean Road and other natural attractions a stone's throw away, being Bogan might be just about right.

4. Zurich

It's just rich. Switzerland continually lives up to its reputation of late as a haven for the world's wealthy and weary. Here, its still all about quality and discretion. Whether tired of non-dom tax hikes in London, bored of the Orient, or simply on the run from the SEC, Switzerland has never looked more attractive for the globerati.  Geneva also remains popular, but Zurich seems to be having a moment.  It gets the nod.

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Floripa courtesy fábio.marim
5. Florianópolis

Finally, we've been searching for a reason to highlight Florianópolis, one of the world's great unsung cities.  Gorgeous people, low prices, stunning scenery, a solid and growing business scene... this is one of those places we should all be hearing more about.  Sure, the infrastructure is basic and the language is Portuguese, but this southern Brazilian city has everything you really need to get by: sand, sun, and low priced citrus - perfect for turning that lemonade into something even better: Caipirinhas.

Click here to see previous rankings, and stay tuned for the 2009 Zeitgeist Ranking, right around the corner.