Three Canadian cities make the top 10 and Osaka stood out for climbing six positions to third spot
The Austrian capital of Vienna has knocked Melbourne off the top spot of the Global Liveability Index 2018, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Australian city had topped the index for seven consecutive years.
The ranking also sees Canadian cities outperform those in the United States, with Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto making this year’s top 10. Manchester, Paris and Copenhagen have seen the biggest ranking improvements among western European cities over the past year while the Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo have climbed into the top 10 for the first time.
The annual survey ranks 140 cities, assessing the best or the worst living conditions. The Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in any given location and allows for direct comparison between locations. Each city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across four broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education and infrastructure.
Both Melbourne and Vienna registered improvements in liveability over the past six months but increases in Vienna’s ratings, especially in the area of the stability category, were enough to overtake Melbourne. Overall, this year’s Index found an improvement in the scores of the top-ranked cities, reflecting improvements in safety and stability across most regions. Osaka stands out for having climbed six places with improvement scores for quality and availability of public transportation as well as a reduction in crime rates.
The Economist Intelligence Unit points out that ranking movements do not necessarily arise from a change in liveability in the cities themselves, but reflect how cities compare with one another. It states that although four cities have fallen from the top 10 over the past year -- Auckland (from 8th to 12th), Perth (from 7th to 14th), Helsinki (from 9th to 16th) and Hamburg (from 10th to 18th) --none of these have seen a fall in their overall scores during this period. New Zealand’s Auckland has registered a minor improvement. Changes in liveability elsewhere can therefore have a significant impact on the rankings of individual cities.
The ranking suggests a correlation between the types of cities at the very top of the ranking. The EIU says that those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries and several cities in the top 10 also have relatively low population density. “These can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure,” it states, adding that six of the top 10 scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, which have, respectively, population densities of 3.2 and 4 people per square kilometre.
Interestingly, global business centres tend to be victims of their own success. “The ‘big city buzz’ that they enjoy can overstretch infrastructure and cause higher crime rates. New York (57th), London (48th) and Paris (19th) are all prestigious hubs with a wealth of recreational activities, but all suffer from higher levels of crime, congestion and public transport problems than are deemed comfortable,” says the report.
The top 10 most liveable cities are:
The 10 ‘least livable’ cities:
136 Port Moresby
Download the Global Liveability Index 2018
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