Houston: Better than Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo (and All but Ten Cities in the World)

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Hey now, it's another one of those sprawling studies ranking the best cities in the world.

This time around, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Partnership for New York City have ranked the world's urban agglomerations according to their importance and power in world finance, innovation and tourism.

Envelope, please...And the top city in the world, in this "scientific" contest partially put on by what amounts to New York City's chamber of commerce is....[Presenter goes partially off-mike] Shit. Really, people? I can't believe I have to stand up here and read this with a straight face [Presenter regains composure, returns to mike]...Let's give it up for the Big Apple: New York City!

Big shocker there.

But what might surprise some of us here is that our own much-mocked, insecure swamp metropolis came in as the number 11 "City of Opportunity" in the world, right behind Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong, and just ahead of Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo.

Houston got high marks for its low costs of living and business space, the freewheeling entrepreneurial environment, and our evidently high life satisfaction. We also did astonishingly well in commute time.

Demerits were handed out for our poor showing in foreign job-creating investment and the downright minuscule number of foreign tourists who venture here.

"Houstonians love Houston," reads the report's summary. "So do US business owners. The rest of the world ... not so much. With lax zoning laws and plentiful space, Houston's low cost of living and doing business is a dream for American businesses and middle class workers, but the rest of the world pretends as though the city doesn't exist. The city has fewer international tourists than any other comparable global city."

You can read the whole report here, and find an interview with one of the chief researchers behind the rankings and slideshow of the other winners right here at that hoity-toity old Atlantic Monthly.

(But we'll spare you some suspense: Dallas, San Antonio and Austin did not make the 26-metropolis cut. Cheer up, non-Houstonians; cities make it out of the "Others Receiving Votes" category all the time.)

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