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Byron

Is London Really 'the Greatest City In The World' Or A Dump?

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Never trust a politician.

So if they tell you that London is great, do you believe them?

To me, it seems an absurdly overpriced smelly dump, with a huge number of chancers, backed up by scurrying drones.

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Its a dump. And Edinburgh has become like a mini version of it in just the past 10 years. Said this very thing to my pals only last week.

All flashy and finance and big cars and snazzy bars in certain parts. But go not very far and there is rubbish everywhere, the roads are a mess, the pavements are a mess - buildings are in a terrible state - lots of things literally falling apart. You have ghettos of various groups of nationalities. Most people you walk past in the street aren't speaking English. A total and utter mess.

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Dump.

I lived there in the 90s when it was much better. In the City pubs closed at about half seven during the week and the streets were deserted by eight. The contrast was really nice on a sunny evening, very little traffic.

I go back one or two times a year and the quiet streets and pubs are now permanently heaving and jammed with traffic, I find it very oppressive and wouldn't consider working there these days.

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It's always been a awfully bloated, confusing mish mash of both. Though I've mostly been round the relatively upmarket tourist/shopping areas.

The "ghetto" area around Arsenal Stadium felt very oddly empty and no real ammeanities (like cash points, etc).

And you have lots of non-English speakers giving you blank looks.

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Dump.

I lived there in the 90s when it was much better. In the City pubs closed at about half seven during the week and the streets were deserted by eight. The contrast was really nice on a sunny evening, very little traffic.

I go back one or two times a year and the quiet streets and pubs are now permanently heaving and jammed with traffic, I find it very oppressive and wouldn't consider working there these days.

I work regularly in Paddington and I'm always struck by how little traffic there is in that particular area.

IMO - great place to visit, terrible place to live unless you have £10m+ in the bank.

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Agreed on great place for a weekend. But would only live there if I had not other choice.

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An extremely congested overcrowded expensive dump now (expensive mainly due to housing) - and likely to be spreading that contagion more and more to the rest of Britain if those running things have their own way.

It was far better say 20/30 years ago but it still had that tendency towards congestion and housing overcrowding and expense (as well as the tiny home factor) but the extremes seem to be well out of control now and getting worse. Then there's the street swindles to be wary of.

Unless you are very rich or long established owning your own reasonably sized home there of course. Then there's still the awful congestion.

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An extremely congested overcrowded expensive dump now - and likely to be spreading that contagion more and more to the rest of Britain if those running things have their own way.

It was far better say 20/30 years ago but it still had that tendency towards congestion and housing overcrowding and expense (as well as the tiny home factor) but the extremes seem to be well out of control now and getting worse.

Unless you are very rich or long established owning your own reasonably sized home there of course. Then there's still the awful congestion.

I don't buy this 'much better 20 or 30 years ago' stuff. I had a girlfriend in Wimbledon 20 years ago and spent a bit of time in London and the bits that I saw were dirtier and more run down than they are now. If you watch old episodes of Minder and The Sweeney it looks like half of London was derelict all the way up to the early 80s.

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Can't stand the place, but then I absolutely hate large cities anyway (having more than a couple of towns within a twenty mile radius is depressingly overdeveloped). It can be interesting enough to visit for a day or two but any more than that and I'm desperate to escape, far more so than any other large city I've been to. I really can't understand wanting to live there, no matter how much money you've got.

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I don't buy this 'much better 20 or 30 years ago' stuff. I had a girlfriend in Wimbledon 20 years ago and spent a bit of time in London and the bits that I saw were dirtier and more run down than they are now. If you watch old episodes of Minder and The Sweeney it looks like half of London was derelict all the way up to the early 80s.

It wasn't nearly as congested, overcrowded and crazy expensive (housing) as now though but it still had a tendency towards that - in that sense at that time it was far better on those particular issues even though still bad.

Accepted large areas were derelict dumps even then. Looking back Minder and The Sweeney were partly marketing invites for the docklands and riverside property developers.

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I don't buy this 'much better 20 or 30 years ago' stuff. I had a girlfriend in Wimbledon 20 years ago and spent a bit of time in London and the bits that I saw were dirtier and more run down than they are now. If you watch old episodes of Minder and The Sweeney it looks like half of London was derelict all the way up to the early 80s.

The redevelopment of the South bank has been a rare success, for these kinds of projects. I'd say the jury is still out on the Olympic legacy (Queen Elizabeth park and the aquatic center could easily fall into ruin if they're uneconomical to maintain). There's an absolute ton of amazing free stuff in London, galleries, museums, party in the park type things, Notting hill carnival, the royal parks.

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Love, love, love London - been here all my life. No desire to really go anywhere, although there was a possibility of going to new York pre-crash and I would have gone there in a flash.

Perhaps I just like noisy big cities that go 24hrs. In fact this change in London over the last say 15 years of being permanently on/open is why I like it.

Good bits and bad bits. I understand how it works, where to go, how to get there

I will admit that housing has never been an issue for me - i suspect if i was on zero hours and living in a 15 person HMO my view could be very different

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I'd echo what others say - London (and other European capitals) are great for a holiday.

Some would be great places to live - if you were a multi millionaire, and had a bolt hole in the countryside to get away from the congestion now and again.

All have their ghettoes and dangerous areas.

But to live and work in London as a normal citizen? No thanks.

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There's an absolute ton of amazing free stuff in London, galleries, museums, party in the park type things, Notting hill carnival, the royal parks.

Quite a lot of other places in the UK have this as well.

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Quite a lot of other places in the UK have this as well.

Not of the same quality or concentration though. There are places that have a good museum or a good gallery or a nice park, but you struggle to find somewhere outside London that has everything within a short distance of each other.

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I don't buy this 'much better 20 or 30 years ago' stuff. I had a girlfriend in Wimbledon 20 years ago and spent a bit of time in London and the bits that I saw were dirtier and more run down than they are now. If you watch old episodes of Minder and The Sweeney it looks like half of London was derelict all the way up to the early 80s.

It was grotty in the 70s and early 80s (as you say, watch The Sweeney or The Professionals to see how low rent most of it was), boomed in the late 80s and fell back a bit in the 90s when I lived there. I was one of the few who actually lived in the City (the financial bit) rather than commuting and on Sundays I pretty much had it to myself. Empty streets, church yards, great buildings.

If you're saying it was run down in 96 that surprises me, certainly the central areas that I used to visit were nice and relatively uncrowded.

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Quite a lot of other places in the UK have this as well.

Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast presumably! They (and London) get the lion's share of arts funding as the capitals.

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Quite a lot of other places in the UK have this as well.

Not on remotely the same scale. You could spend a month in the British Museum alone and barely scratch the surface. Or a lifetime in the British Library.

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Not on remotely the same scale. You could spend a month in the British Museum alone and barely scratch the surface. Or a lifetime in the British Library.

For all the hustle and bustle and sheer volume of people in London, I always marvel at the scale of the Victoria & Albert Museum, where I can go to a far flung corner of the museum and sit amongst treasures in absolute silence and solitude on a Sunday a with not another soul to disturb me

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It was grotty in the 70s and early 80s (as you say, watch The Sweeney or The Professionals to see how low rent most of it was), boomed in the late 80s and fell back a bit in the 90s when I lived there. I was one of the few who actually lived in the City (the financial bit) rather than commuting and on Sundays I pretty much had it to myself. Empty streets, church yards, great buildings.

If you're saying it was run down in 96 that surprises me, certainly the central areas that I used to visit were nice and relatively uncrowded.

I wouldn't say it was run down, certainly it was less run down than on the shows we've mentioned (the early Only Fools and Horses are another example) but relative to what I see today I wouldn't say it was better then than it is now.

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I wouldn't say it was run down, certainly it was less run down than on the shows we've mentioned (the early Only Fools and Horses are another example) but relative to what I see today I wouldn't say it was better then than it is now.

Got you.

My definition of better would be: clearner, less crowded, less high buildings, more older buildings, less traffic. If you like it busy and with shiny new very tall buildings then yes you would say it's better now.

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Love, love, love London - been here all my life. No desire to really go anywhere, although there was a possibility of going to new York pre-crash and I would have gone there in a flash.

Perhaps I just like noisy big cities that go 24hrs. In fact this change in London over the last say 15 years of being permanently on/open is why I like it.

Good bits and bad bits. I understand how it works, where to go, how to get there

I will admit that housing has never been an issue for me - i suspect if i was on zero hours and living in a 15 person HMO my view could be very different

Pretty much knew that this thread would be full of comments on how London is a massive dump, mainly from people who have never actually lived here. Perfectly valid opinion but from the other side I have found pretty much every were else in the country to be as dull as dishwater. The notion that other places have the museums, galleries, arts etc is totally misplaced, nowhere else comes even remotely close to the possibilities London offers in that area (in the UK).

Lived in London for most of my life, think it's the greatest place in the world. Before you suggest I don't know what I'm talking about I have travelled extensively both in the UK and abroad. Personal opinion and I'd have no desire to change peoples minds, my point is it's not a position gained from ignorance of the rest of the world outside of London.

I did live away for about 3 years, remember distinctly coming back and the first day back working in central London and thinking how much I had missed the busyness of the place.

As you say it's changed massively in the last 15-20 years, pretty much unrecognisable in parts.

Of course it's all horses for course and people are entitled to their opinions, but per the original question it is undoubtably yes (or certainly one of the very best) by any reasonable measure, London comes top or second to New York in pretty much every major survey when it comes to top rated cities across a number of criteria, along with New York it's one of only two Alpha++ rated cities in the world. You can decry the cost of living, price of houses or price of a pint of beer but that has very little bearing on what makes a city the best in the world, in fact it only enhances the case given the worlds rich choose it to base themselves here. The fact you don't like it or don't want to live there has little effect on the claims it's the greatest city in the word, it's not a relative definition.

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I wouldn't say it was run down, certainly it was less run down than on the shows we've mentioned (the early Only Fools and Horses are another example) but relative to what I see today I wouldn't say it was better then than it is now.

I live in Peckham (or just next door to be exact) possibly one of the places that is significantly worse than it might have been in the 80's

Having said that it's changing massively, it's very different to when I moved in 4 years ago.

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