Melbourne Tops Global Livability Ranking

By Editorial 02 September, 2013

Melbourne remains the world's most livable city and three other Australian cities are among the top ten, according to a survey undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The survey's livability rating is based on a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors, within the five broad categories of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth featured in the top ten, alongside Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary in Canada, Aukland in New Zealand, Vienna in Austria, and Helsinki in Finland.

The survey authors explain that the best-scoring locations tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density, as these "can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure." Some cities in Australia have risen in the ranking due to infrastructure improvements, especially a federal road-building programme. In contrast, global centers such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are "victims of their own success," with higher levels of crime, congestion and public transport problems.

The report also notes which cities have improved or declined. Among cities regarded as "top tier," Hong Kong has risen by ten places, to number 31 overall, while Madrid has slipped five places to 44th, due to "unrest and protests."

Qualitative indicators in the survey are judged by in-house analysts and in-city contributors, while quantitative indicators are calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points. These are then compiled and weighted to create an overall liveability rating and one for each category, and New York is used as a point of comparison.

The report suggests that employees of international companies sent to locations that are less livable should be given greater allowances, based on the extent of the extra difficulties to be faced.

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