Blog by Kevin Wong

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Vancouver Remains World's Most Livable City: Survey

For the fifth year in a row, Vancouver has been named the most livable city in the world. Still riding an Olympic high from hosting the Vancouver 2010 Games, the city beat out Melbourne, Australia and Vienna, Austria as the place where people most choose to live. Two other Canadian cities, Toronto and Calgary, also made the Economist Intelligence Unit’s top ten list at fourth and fifth respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum was Harare, Zimbabwe, once a beautiful city but after three decades of rule under Robert Mugabe is squalid. Vancouver took top spot with a score of 98 per cent based on rankings including health care, infrastructure, culture, environment and education. The Economist surveyed 140 cities.

Vancouver deserves to be at the top of the list, but it can just as easily be knocked off, according to Tourism Vancouver president Rick Antonson. “This is something we can never, ever take for granted,” he said. “It’s something as a Vancouver resident it’s wonderful since you have your own set of glasses to look through. Given what this means to visitors, this means the city has all the right attributes. But being able to sustain something like that is a constant watch. It has to be top of mind that we do not let something like that slip.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was also pleased with the ranking, which Vancouver first earned in 2007 before his Vision Vancouver party came to power. The city’s political problems with the Olympic Village, its battle to end street homelessness and a persistent drug trade all appeared to have little impact on the ranking. Only petty crime was an issue, something the report said is

Eight of the 10 top spots went to cities in Canada and Australia, with Vienna coming third and Helsinki, Finland sixth. “Vancouver remains at the top of the ranking, a position that can only have been cemented by the successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which provided a boost to the infrastructure and culture and environment categories,” the report summary said.

“Only petty crime presents any difficulties for Vancouver, although this would be a shortfall of any such location,” it said.

Jon Copestake, the report’s editor, said that mid-sized cities in developed countries with low population densities scored well because they had cultural and infrastructure benefits but also had fewer issues with crime and congestion.

Pittsburgh was the top U.S. city with 29th place, just ahead of Honolulu, while Los Angeles moved up three places to 44th and New York held onto the 56th spot. London moved up one place to 53rd while Paris came in at number 16.

The top Asian city was Osaka at number 12, tying Geneva, Switzerland and beating out the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which came in at 18. Hong Kong came in at 31 but Beijing, capital of the world’s most populous nation and No. 2 economy, straggled in at 72.

At the other end of the list, African and Asian nations made up the bottom of the survey’s rankings. Many of those are subsumed in political turmoil, poverty and war.

“Conflict is responsible for many of the poorest performing scores,” the report said, pointing to issues such as violence, crime, civil insurgency and war.

The top 10 most livable cities in the world:

1. Vancouver

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Vienna, Austria

4. Toronto

5. Calgary

6. Helsinki, Finland

7. Sydney, Australia

8. Perth, Australia

8. Adelaide, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand

The 10 least livable cities:

1. Harare, Zimbabwe

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh

3. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

4. Lagos, Nigeria

5. Algiers, Algeria

6. Karachi, Pakistan

7. Douala, Cameroon

8. Tehran, Iran

9. Dakar, Senegal

10. Colombo, Sri Lanka




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