Solving Cities

What makes a romantic city?

What makes a romantic city?

Posting in Cities

It's easy to name romantic cities -- Paris, Venice, Rome -- even if you've never visited, but do you know what makes these cities such love hubs? Find out.

Check out any top 10 romantic cities list and you'll see cities like Paris, Rome, Prague, and Venice. But what makes these cities so romantic? (Hint: It's not because the streets are lined with boxes of chocolate.)

Kaid Benfield, on NRDC's Switchboard blog, came up with a list of what these romantic cities have in common:

  • Strong sense of place anchored by historic preservation
  • Lively, walkable, diverse downtowns
  • Compact development patterns
  • Extensive and well-used public transportation
  • Great public spaces for lively human interaction
  • Parks and quiet places mixed in with urbanity
  • Great traditional neighborhoods with a strong sense of community
  • Welcoming to people of diverse culture

It's a good list. Who dreams of getting stuck in traffic in a busy city on a date? It's hard to show your special someone how much you love them when you have road rage. Walking hand-in-hand through downtown sounds better to me. Benfield agrees. "People fall in love with these cities, and in them, in part because they are so conducive to nourishing the human spirit."

The characteristics of these cities aren't just great for lovers, they increase human interaction, so they're great for singles as well. How many times have you met someone in a car?

This Valentine's Day, try visiting the neighborhood in your city that has the most in common with this list. Let us know tomorrow whether you felt the love.

Photo: kikasso/Flickr

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure