The New Zealand city ranks top in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability index which explores the impact of the pandemic and assesses cities in five areas.
Auckland has been named the most liveable city in the world, owing to its ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic faster and so lift restrictions earlier.
The New Zealand city ranks top in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability rankings ahead of Osaka, Japan, and Adelaide, Australia, in second and third places respectively. After being in the top spot since 2018, Austrian capital Vienna dropped to 12th in the rankings.
Six of the top 10 cities in the March 2021 survey are in New Zealand or Australia, where tight border controls have allowed residents to live more normal lives.
Data for The Global Liveability Index 2021: How the Covid-19 pandemic affected liveability worldwide survey was collected from 22 February to 21 March 2021. The EIU said that the pandemic has caused “huge volatility” in the bi-annual Liveability Index, which ranks 140 cities across five areas: stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure.
The overall global average liveability score has fallen by seven points, as compared with the average pre-pandemic score.
The extent to which cities were sheltered by strong border closures, their ability to handle the health crisis and the pace at which they rolled out vaccination campaigns drove significant changes in the rankings.
New Zealand has been able to keep theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions open. Students have been able to continue going to school, giving Auckland a 100 per cent score for education. This has allowed the city to move up to the top spot from sixth place in the autumn 2020. New Zealand capital, Wellington, has also moved up the table from 15th to joint fourth place with Tokyo.
Alongside Adelaide, three more Australian cities – Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane – appear in the top 10, with Sydney in 11th place. The Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva also maintained their places in the top 10, despite some social restrictions still being in place.
“What residents value in their cities may also have changed, with green spaces becoming more popular and public transport less so than before the pandemic”
The EIU reports that many European cities have fallen down the rankings, having battled a second Covid-19 wave by restricting cultural and sporting events, and closing schools and restaurants.
In Germany, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf have seen the biggest falls in ranking of all 140 cities in the index. Canadian cities have also suffered with Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, which have previously scored highly, slipping down the rankings.
The downward movement in rankings for European and Canadian cities can be attributed to the heightened stress on healthcare resources during the second wave of the pandemic. However, several US cities, including Honolulu and Houston, the biggest gainers in the latest survey, have bounced up the rankings over the past six months as social restrictions have lifted.
The lower end of the rankings has seen less change, with the Syrian capital, Damascus, still the least liveable city in the world. Healthcare scores fell after the onset of the pandemic in most cities across the world, with the least affected cities concentrated in western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
The report authors said that Covid-19 will continue to affect city liveability. It predicts conditions in the poorest cities likely to deteriorate further if they fail to get the vaccines they need to prevent the spread of new Covid-19 variants.
Weak healthcare systems could come under greater strain, as they have in India. A slower inoculation drive would result in a more strict lockdown, thereby affecting the expected recovery in economic growth. Factors like this could, in turn, affect other categories, including stability, noted the EIU. It concluded: “Moreover, what residents value in their cities may also have changed, with green spaces becoming more popular and public transport less so than before the pandemic.”
The 10 most liveable cities
1. Auckland, New Zealand
2. Osaka, Japan
3. Adelaide, Australia
4. Wellington, New Zealand
4. Tokyo, Japan
6. Perth, Australia
7. Zurich, Switzerland
8. Geneva, Switzerland
8. Melbourne, Australia
10. Brisbane, Australia
The 10 least liveable cities
131. Caracas, Venezuela
132. Douala, Cameroon
133. Harare, Zimbabwe
134. Karachi, Pakistan
135. Tripoli, Libya
136. Algiers, Algeria
137. Dhaka, Bangladesh
138. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
139. Lagos, Nigeria
140. Damascus, Syria
The full ranking and report can be accessed here The Global Liveability Index 2021.
You might also like: