Melbourne retains its crown of 'most liveable city'

MELBOURNE remains the most liveable location of the 140 cities surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna.

According to the survey, there has been no change among the top tier, with the score and ranking of the top 65 cities remaining identical to six months ago.

There is little difference between any of the ten most liveable cities, with only 1.8 percentage points separating Melbourne in first place and Auckland in tenth place. The EIU adds that "some 63 cities (down to Santiago in Chile) are considered to be in the very top tier of liveability."

The EIU states the lack of change in its latest survey results may primarily reflect renewed stability, as some economies begin to recover from the global economic crisis of a few years ago.

However, it also says that the continuing crisis in the euro zone and tighter fiscal budgets may have also slowed planned improvements, meaning that scores have remained static rather than moving up or down.

The EIU points to infrastructure development as a driver of liveability over the last few years, citing improvements to infrastructure in key cities in Australia, where the federal government initiated a long-term road-building program in 2010.

Vancouver is also working on a number of projects, including the "Evergreen" mass transit line in 2012 and considering measures such as "scramble intersections" or road tolls to counteract congestion.

In a summary of its survey, the EIU notes that there "does appear to be a correlation between the types of cities that sit right at the very top of the ranking."

"Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure."

The EIU's liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual's lifestyle in any given location, to allow for a direct comparison between locations.

Every city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points.

The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100, where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal.

Top ten cities

  • Melbourne, Australia 97.5
  • Vienna, Austria 97.4
  • Vancouver, Canada 97.3
  • Toronto, Canada 97.2
  • Calgary, Canada 96.6
  • Adelaide, Australia 96.6
  • Sydney, Australia 96.1
  • Helsinki, Finland 96.0
  • Perth, Australia 95.9
  • Auckland, New Zealand 95.7

Bottom ten cities

  • Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire 45.9
  • Tehran, Iran 45.8
  • Douala, Cameroon 43.3
  • Tripoli, Libya 42.8
  • Karachi, Pakistan 40.9
  • Algiers, Algeria 40.9
  • Harare, Zimbabwe 39.4
  • Lagos, Nigeria 39.0
  • Port Moresby, PNG 38.9
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh 38.7

More information about the report is available from the Economist Intelligence Unit website at <>.

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