Eight Cities That Are Excellent Examples Of Great Urban Design

Urban design plays an important role in creating liveable and functional cities. From the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the historic canals of Amsterdam, some cities simply stand out for their incredible urban design.


Photo by DNovac

Urban design plays an important role in creating liveable and functional cities. From the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the historic canals of Amsterdam, some cities simply stand out for their incredible urban design. In this article, we’ll explore eight of the most well-designed cities on earth, uncovering a few of the unique elements that make them beautiful, functional, and sustainable. Whether you’re a lover of architecture, culture, or simply great city planning, these cities are sure to inspire and amaze.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is known for its beautiful urban design that integrates sustainable practices and promotes a walkable city. The city has dedicated bike lanes, public spaces, and a pedestrian-friendly environment. Copenhagen’s design also incorporates effective waste management systems, green spaces, and waterfront redevelopment. This allows the city to provide a high quality of life for its citizens while reducing its environmental impact.

Image by Demitras Vetsikas

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is renowned for its innovative and dynamic urban design that combines both traditional and modern urban design elements. The city has a fantastic network of pedestrian streets and plazas, which encourages walking and cycling as the preferred modes of transport. Barcelona’s design is also characterized by its use of bold colors, playful shapes, and creative architecture, contributing to the city’s unique and vibrant atmosphere.

Photo by Kevin Schwarz

Tokyo, Japan

As the largest mega city on earth, Tokyo is known for its efficient and innovative urban design that prioritizes functionality and convenience. The city’s transportation system is exceptional, with a sophisticated network of subways and trains connecting all parts of the city. The buildings are designed to be earthquake-resistant and make effective use of limited space with their modern designs. Tokyo also has a harmonious blend of nature and urban development, with many parks and green spaces interspersed throughout the city.

Photo by Jason Goh

Paris, France

The City of Lights is renowned for its timeless and elegant urban design that has been admired by people from all over the world for many years. The city’s wide avenues, grand boulevards, and beautiful public spaces are all part of its unique charm. The city’s iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral are all set amidst stunning architectural designs. Paris also boasts a fantastic public transport system that connects every corner of the city.

Photo by Marta


The small city-state of Singapore has gone through an incredible transformation from a small trading post into one of the most modern and well-designed cities in the world. Singapore’s urban design is a testament to its world-renowned efficiency and sustainability. The city is known for its clean streets, well-planned residential areas, and vibrant cultural districts. Innovative green spaces and eco-friendly buildings are scattered throughout the city and their public transportation system is among the best in the world, with buses and trains running on time and providing easy access to every part of the island. Singapore’s urban design is a model of how to balance economic growth with environmental responsibility.

Photo by Monica Volpin

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam’s urban design revolves around its iconic canal system, which gives the city its unique character and charm. The city’s picturesque bridges, colorful buildings, and cozy cafes are all part of its unmistakable style. Additionally, street art and contemporary architecture blend seamlessly with historic landmarks. Despite its compact size, Amsterdam is well-connected by a comprehensive public transportation system that includes trams, buses, and trains.

Image by Laura Montagnani

Further Reading

New York City, USA

As the largest city in a country that’s not exactly known for human-friendly urban design, New York City is an outlier that also happens to be one of the best-designed cities in the world. New York’s urban design is a feat of engineering and creativity, with its towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The city’s grid system makes navigation easy, and public transportation options are numerous, with an extensive subway system, a comprehensive bus network, ferry services, and bike-sharing programs.

Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a beautiful city with a rich history and modern design. The city features a network of islands connected by bridges and ferries, making it easy to explore the city’s many attractions.

Stockholm’s urban design is renowned for its beauty, functionality, and sustainability. The city’s architecture seamlessly blends modern and historic elements, with beautiful buildings lining the waterfront and elegant palaces dotted throughout the city. Stockholm’s public transportation network is world-class, with a comprehensive system of trams, buses, and ferries connecting even the most remote neighborhoods. The Swedish capital also boasts extensive bike paths and a push toward renewable energy sources, making it one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world.

Photo by brightfreak

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