There’s no doubt that Ancient Greece was a wondrous place, but the famed Seven Wonders of the Ancient World wouldn’t go over very well in today’s global society, mostly because there’s plenty of dope shit to see outside the Eastern Mediterranean that didn’t make the cut. Luckily a Swiss millionaire named Bernard Weber has stepped up to the task of overhauling the whole Seven Wonders concept with a series of new lists that have sparked a global movement.
Entitled New7Wonders Cities, the latest project of the New7Wonders foundation called upon people across the world to vote on a diverse list of cities that “best represent the achievements and aspirations of our global urban civilization.”
So who made the cut? London? Paris? Rome? Actually, none of the above. The final tally included zero European or North American cities while boasting two Latin American capitals in the form of Havana and La Paz. And now, over a year after the final tally, Havana has officially been recognized as an Urban Wonder of the World in a gala ceremony that included the unveiling of a bronze statue on the malecón.
From an original list of 1,200 cities across 220 countries, the final seven were selected by hundreds of thousands of voters from a batch of 14 semi-finalists that included Chicago, Barcelona, London, and Mexico City. Voting criteria include each city’s historical legacy; balance of infrastructure, living, working, and recreation spaces; and potential for sustainable growth.
In the end, however, the initiate’s open voting process made the whole thing into something of a popularity contest, with some countries launching all-out PR campaigns to ensure their inclusion on a list. Nevertheless, the final results are probably not what one would expect from our persistently Eurocentric society, with cities like Durban, South Africa; Vigan, Phillipines; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia standing alongside the capitals of Cuba and Bolivia.