I love my hometown of Honolulu! Still, we can do better. Here is the list of the “World’s Most Livable Cities.” No, we are not on this list. Here is their criteria:
1. Stability: prevalence of crime, threat of conflict (military or otherwise), etc. (25% of score)
2. Healthcare: availability and quality (20% of score)
3. Culture and environment: social freedoms, availability of amenities, and climate (25% of score)
4. Education: availability and quality (10% of score)
5. Infrastructure: quality of transit, roads, water, energy, and telecommunication and availability of good housing (20% of score)
I assume that the weather, people, cuisine, and professional sports teams are somehow factored in….
In my limited travels, I have carelessly come up with just three criteria for a world-class city. This is all you need:
1. A great marketplace.
2. A great microbrewery (haha.)
3. A great main square.
We need a great marketplace. I mean, we must have great seafood here right? You can’t consider our Farmers’ Markets (as important as they are) or our swap meet for this category. And our market in Chinatown is just too small.
In terms of a microbrewery, we actually have a good one! The Kona Brewing Company is really impressive! They have pubs in Kona and Koko Marina (Hawai’i Kai.) It’s the beer that you see in Hawai’i Five-O.
This brings us to the city square. I live a block away from Thomas Square. It has enormous potential of being something great. It is sandwiched between the Blaisdell Concert Hall and the Honolulu Museum of Art. Unfortunately, it has been somewhat neglected by our city government. It is an eyesore. Aside from the occasional dog show and orchid show, it has become a home for the homeless and the Occupy Honolulu Movement.
It is a park with a working fountain and historic banyan trees. I believe that it wouldn’t take much for it to become a centerpiece of the city. Just imagine a place with community events, art shows, cultural festivities, food booths, vendors, outdoor concerts, hula festivals, etc. It could be a hub of activity for education as well as for our senior citizens. C’mon mayor. Let’s do this….
Postscript: I believe that the Ala Wai Canal can become a world-class river walk, but that’s for another post….