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The 2008 Warm List: A Zeitgeist Prelude

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2nd Oct 2008

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Waterfront in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
As Hub Culture prepares the 2008 release of our annual Zeitgeist Ranking (which measures Hub Culture's macro-view on the cites defining global culture), we wanted to tee things up with a new mini-list that looks at up-and-coming places on everyone's lips. These five trendy hubs were chosen because they are surprising, vibrant and interesting. Most of all they exhibit a sense of being great locations right now, even if they are not as culturally dominant as those in the top 20 ranking appearing Friday.

1. Bogot

Despite a little crime problem, a large poverty problem, infrastructure woes and more, this Latin capital has a unique advantage in a rapidly globalizing South America: location. As the global positioning of Caracas decays under Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Bogot is picking up an exodus of knowledge workers, bankers and others relocating from Venezuela to Colombia. Since Buenos Aires and S o Paolo are much further south, Bogota's northern location on the continent makes it an easier commute for work, and combined with Colombia's party spirit and the lure of sexy social hotspots like Cartagena, its position as a rising star is secure. Colombia is hot folks!

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Agent Provocateur's sexy Life Ball, Vienna
2. Abu Dhabi

Critics tut that Abu Dhabi is just mimicking its glamorous neighbor Dubai as it builds an award winning international flavor to the Emirate, but Abu Dhabi can genuinely stand for one thing: extreme luxury. Cited by some as the richest city in the world, and actually larger in population than its business-minded neighbor, the capital of the UAE is on fire. Whether its a new gilded hotel or work on the new Guggenheim and Louvre outposts, Abu Dhabi is going for the gold in the luxury sector and seems to be reinventing itself as a cultural hub for the Middle East in the process.

3. Vienna

When the worlds "old Europe" are uttered, Vienna tends to spring to mind: staid, palatial, grand, it has always been the stalwart of the continent. But the fresh infusion of design aesthetic, sexy Agent Provocateur Life Balls, and a hipper attitude are recreating the image of Vienna to be even more interesting than it once was. The city is clean and green, with more to offer every day. While it may not be defining the scene in Europe, Vienna has emerged as a favorite decompression spot with great food, style and people all on tap.

4. Dallas

Architecture matters, and Dallas has never been known for its urban style. But a new generation of starchitects are reinventing the core of Dallas, finally creating a sharper personality for the home of JR Ewing. Todays high oil prices don't hurt either - they are driving an investment and consumption wave in the city that seems to be holding off the financial doldrums plaguing the rest of the US sunbelt.

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South Bank Beach, Brisbane, Queensland, Oz
5. Brisbane

Brisbane's integration with the rest of Southeast Asia is fueling a cosmopolitan edge to the city that could never exist in Sydney or Melbourne, long considered the main axis of Australia. Brisbane's beautiful coast is filling with edgy beach living, and better international connections are making it the new short stop location for the bigger locations in Asia. Add in the improving nightlife and tropical feel, and suddenly Brisbane is on the map, even if at times it still feels a little bit meathead. The Ozzies call it Brisvegas for a reason: its happening for them, and now its happening for you too.

Hub Culture's 2008 Zeitgeist Ranking is one of the world's most recognized measures of urban cultural leadership. It puts a finger to the wind of conversation and distills the chatter and buzz of Hub Culture members into an annual ranking that seeks to measure "where its at".
The 2008 list appears Friday, 25 January, 2008.

See the 2007 Ranking

See the 1973-2007 Historical Ranking