Cities Journal

Top 21 Absolutely Ugliest Cities In The World

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Ugly, on the other hand, is pretty obvious to everyone. For example, consider the undeniable ugliness of certain cities. Some claim ugliness due to poor planning, others from grinding poverty.

Many have environmental issues while others have made sad or ridiculous choices. Here’s a look at 21 of the absolutely most ugly cities in the world, with extra consideration for how tourists can, should or should not take in the alleged sights.

1. Brisbane, Australia (or Ipswich?)

Among its coral reefs and breathtaking desert vistas, Australia has apparently been keeping an ugly little secret: the city of Brisbane. In the opinion of one critic, Brisbane’s rampant development and lack of planning has created a city of ugly office blocks and sterile expressways.

According to the Brisbane Courier Mail, Alain de Botton bashed Brisbane while on a book tour of Australia. After dismissing the city’s business district, de Botton pointed out the lack of anything approaching a scenic view along the city’s waterfront.

But that’s where the story gets interesting. It turns out that while writing about Brisbane, de Botton may have been looking at a picture of Ipswich, some 10,000 miles away. Quite a mix-up. Unfortunately for pride-stung Brisbane residents, de Botton did have a point.

While Brisbane lacks the depressing ugliness of some cities, it does have a sort of persistently unimpressive blandness. Visitors find it easy to get lost downtown, because one block does have a marked similarity to the next.

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