If you have ever been to London, read anything about it, you know the two most important things about the Big smoke are that it’s the best city on earth and an incredibly tough place to live.
Busy, expensive, dirty, too hot or too cold, London is a giant rat race—and full of actual rats—with a challenging scarcity of real estate, eligible bachelors bachelorettes. London is so tough that a recent study found it to be the UKs unhappiest city.
The North went bankrupt. The south east flooded. Cornwall become a minority. But London is unhappier?
People who live in London have elevated grousing to an art form, so of course a study that takes into account their self-assessment of happiness will find them miserable.
In an attempt to make people who live in London feel better about themselves, here is some context to their commonest complaints.
1. The rent is too damn high
True. The rent is high. The rent in most of London (and some of greater London) is offensively high.
Perhaps People in London would be happier in Monte Carlo, where renting a 1,300 sq ft (120 sq m) apartment costs $10,099 (versus Londons $6,553)
Also, what about the price to income ratio?
2. Apartments are too small
It’s not just the price of homes that makes people who live in London unhappy. It’s the size.
The city’s minimum size for a unit of living space is 41 sq m (400 sq ft), although there are many 300 sq feet rabbit hutches available. Now that’s small—as in, a small building in Hong Kong.
3. It’s too competitive
A study was published by the Economist Intelligence Unit last year labeling London “the world’s most competitive city.”
The study actually looked at how competitive London is compared to other cities, not at the city’s own competitiveness.
But it sure is hard to make it. For instance, trying to get a job:
4. Winters are too cold
London winters are rather brutal. But have you ever spent a winter in Montreal? And when’s the last time you heard someone from Ulan Bator (where the temperature gets to -49°C) go on a rant about the freezing weather?
5. Summers? Too hot
Unless you compare them with the high temperatures of places where it actually is too hot.
The tube is too hot though.
6. Traffic’s terrible
Most people in London don’t drive. But they take taxis and sometimes those taxis get stuck in traffic. It’s awful.
7. It’s too crowded
If you had to pick only one word about London to carry with you on a desert island, “busy” would be it. People are busy. Places are busy. Train/tube cars are busy.
Because there are just too many people in London
8. And tourists are everywhere
In 2012, 52.7 million tourists (both domestic and international) visited London. That’s about 6.5 tourists a year for every person who lives in London.
But it could be a lot worse. It could be Venice, where there are 50,000 residents and 22 million tourists a year.
That’s 440 tourists per person.