Any consideration of naming the world’s most up-and-coming, trendiest, exciting, and innovative urban environments in the world must start in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its marvelous city of Dubai.

Since the 1980s, few cities have undergone a more astounding and profound transformation. It was about 40 years ago that Dubai officials realized that the future of the UAE would require moving aggressively away from a fossil-fuel-based economy to something sustainable over the long term.

Dubai began a strategic and highly organized process to become the most modern city on the planet. Because it wanted to be a global destination, it chose the tourism industry as its major focus. The latter would be the driving force along with the development of a robust financial sector and a high-tech ecosystem.

Today, Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. It soars to an incredible 2,716 feet (828 meters). The city has also constructed the largest solar power generating plant in the world and just opened the largest water desalination plant. The city skyline looks like something out of a futuristic science fiction film.

Furthermore, Dubai has embraced diversity in a big way. This may be a Muslim nation, but all races, creeds, ethnic groups, and cultures are accepted and at home in this wonderfully cosmopolitan location.

A good choice for runner-up to Dubai is Berlin. Much of the German capital was bombed to rubble during World War II. What followed was more than four decades of Cold War separation symbolized by the cruel Berlin Wall. But when the Wall finally fell in 1989, Berlin entered a new Golden Era.

Today, Berlin is among the most economically successful, culturally vibrant, and artistically developed cities in the world. This urban area of 3.6 million people has enjoyed a steady influx of young people. That youthful injection brought with it an explosion of art and creativity. 

At the same time, Berlin retains its ancient past. A lot of the city’s oldest structures survived the bombing of Allied Forces or were restored and rebuilt. It makes Berlin a city of deep culture and history combined with the most fascinating cutting-edge cultural and technological trends.

Finally, one might not think of Austin, Texas, as being in the world-class echelons of the likes of Dubai and Berlin. However, this American city in the Lone Star State is simply one of the “coolest” destinations anywhere on the globe.

Austin is a city dripping with art and culture along with a powerful academic community that draws the best minds, scholars, scientists, and artists from around the world. It is said that if you can’t have fun in Austin, you just can’t have fun.