Melbourne, Australia, has been declared by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to be the most liveable city in the world, followed closely by the Austrian capital, Vienna. Three cities in Canada, Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary has been placed at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively.
These top five cities remain unchanged from last year’s rank. Things that they have in commons are they were being situated in relatively wealthy countries with good health and education systems, good quality infrastructure and they tended to be medium-sized, and had low population densities which have led a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.
Six of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, which have, respectively, population densities of 3.1 and 3.9 people per square kilometre.
However, the world has seen the instability increased during the past year due to the terrorist attack or unrest, and in more extreme cases, civil war in some countries like Syria, Lybia, Iraq, and Ukraine.
The liveability score was reached through category weights, which are Stability, Healthcare, Culture & Environment, Education, and Infrastructure.
Over the past six months 16 cities of the 140 surveyed have experienced changes in scores. This rises to 35 cities, or 25% of the total number surveyed when looking at changes over the past year.
Violent acts of terrorism have been reported in many countries, including Turkey, Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, France, Belgium and the US.
Sydney, for example, has moved out of the ten most liveable cities due to a heightened perceived threat of terrorism.
There are countries, such as Nigeria, which continue to battle insurgent groups. Even a relative stable country, like the US, have seen mounting civil unrest linked to the Black Lives Matter Movement, which resulted to many black people killed while in police custody.
Diplomatic tensions also increased between some countries. Russia’s own posturing in Ukraine and the Middle East, India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region, and China which is diplomatically aggressive over the dispute of South China Sea.
Some might be questioned the position of the world’s global success, like New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo. The report said that these countries are victims of their own success.The big cities have experienced higher criminal rates, and congestion and public transport problems.
Over five years, 96 of the 140 cities surveyed have seen some change in overall liveability scores. Of these cities, 71 have seen declines in liveability, up from 52 just six months ago
While only 6 cities with improved scores over the past 12 months.
Simon Baptist, chief economist at the EIU, told CNBC by phone that the major regional hubs Hong Kong and Singapore climbed the ranks by a few places to 43rd and 46th. Neither city saw an improvement in their scores and their advances were largely due to declines in livability in other cities.
Baptist explained that both cities rank in the top rating of livability, with Singapore beating Hong Kong by having better infrastructure. But the city-state was penalised by a warm, humid climate – something outside Singapore’s control – and due to censorship, he added. Global terrorism remains a threat to stability.
Conflict is responsible for many of the lowest scores. This is not only because stability indicators have the highest single scores but also because factors defining stability spread to have an adverse effect on other categories. For example, conflicts will not just cause disruption in its own right, it will also damage infrastructure, overburden hospitals and undermine the availability of goods, services and recreational activities.