Leading article: Just don't go there

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The Independent Online

Open the next issue of Monocle, and we read that Copenhagen is the best city in the world in which to live. Tyler Brule's stylish magazine crowns the Danish capital top city for almost everything, starting with design, public transport, lack of sprawl, number of cinemas and the availability of a glass of wine in the wee hours.

After Copenhagen comes Munich,and then Tokyo, whereas London figures nowhere on the list. Cue for a small stampede by style conscious Britons to try out the lifestyle in these near-perfect urban environments, you might imagine. After all, in a netted-up world, one is encouraged to think, work and live globally, and the prospect of commuting from Denmark or Bavaria to Britain by low-cost airline ought not to be daunting.

Alas, it's just not that simple any more. True, we were once urged to treat the whole world as our own oyster, village or barrio, but matters have changed.

As environmentalism – and spiralling oil prices – creep up the agenda, one is warned not to go anywhere at all, principally because travel by plane – the only way of reaching most destinations beyond Bruges – is a) using up what remains of our oil supplies, and b) wrecking the planet. Just thinking of regularly commuting by plane is increasingly seen as tantamount to a kind of environmental vandalism; it's as if you were personally assisting the submersion of an entire low-lying Pacific island.

So, the next time your eye is drawn to a list of top cities, remember: look, admire, feel envy if you will. But for goodness' sake, don't go there.

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