The world’s most liveable cities are generally less global capital, more regional 2nd city, a new ranking shows.
Vienna took the #1 spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability ranking for the 2nd year running, confirming that life is officially better on the banks of the Danube than it is by the Yarra River in Melbourne, which took 2nd place.
Australia and Canada dominate the Top 10 with 3 cities each, while Osaka, Tokyo and Copenhagen complete the list.
Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are judged to offer the Antipodes’ best quality of life, while Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto are North America’s Top locations.
“Overall, our index remains dominated by medium-sized cities in wealthy countries,” the report notes, pointing to high-quality education, well-funded public healthcare and functional transport systems. These cities with populations that number anywhere from 300,000 to 1-M hit the sweet spot between overcrowded and underdeveloped.
“The upsides of these cities tend to be fully realized. You get a good collection of cultural activities, you get good access to healthcare and education,” said EIU’s regional director for Asia. “But you don’t get a lot of downsides that tend to come with big cities, things like traffic congestion, crime problems and general wear and tear.”
Financial hubs London at #48 and New York at 58 lagged behind other domestic rivals.
Hong Kong and Singapore fared better marking at #38 and #40 respectively. Hong Kong’s ranking overlooked for now the recent political unrest, but the disruption will likely show up next year.
To assess living conditions, the index examines the quality of healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability and culture. Each city is graded on more than 30 factors, which are then compiled into a weighted score of between 1 and 100.
At 99.1, Vienna’s Y 2019 livability score is almost perfect. Melburnians and others should not feel too put out though: The scores among the top 20 cities vary by less than 5 points. No US city made it higher than #22, with Honolulu ranked as the nation’s Top performer.
Across the board, the report points to improved quality of living, thanks to strengthened stability, as well as better education and healthcare systems especially in emerging markets.
Cities such as New Delhi and Cairo have slipped down the rankings as a result of worsening pollution. Sitting right at the bottom of the list are Dhaka, Lagos and Damascus, with the war-torn Syrian capital retaining the last position for the past 7 years.
Enjoy your travels