Europe News

World’s Best City to Live Retains Crown

Melbourne remains the top city in terms of livability, while London has fallen in the rankings following riots across the city last summer, according to the latest Global Liveability Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Melbourne, Australia
Mahmud Hasan | Flickr | Getty Images

According to the latest research, Melbourne is the most livable place out of the 140 cities surveyed, with results based on which cities locations have the best and worst living conditions. 

The Austrian capital Vienna came in at second place and one of the previous winners — Vancouver — dropped in place to a close third.

Conducted by measuring political and social stability, infrastructure, crime and access to quality health care and education, the survey measures societal factors as well as the environmental and cultural life of cities and is a useful gauge for assessing urban development levels or expatriate relocation packages for businesses.  

Melbourne was ranked highest with an overall 97.5 (100 is an ideal city) and scoring the top 100 points for its healthcare, infrastructure and education. Although the city is known as Australia’s “cultural capital,” its scores dropped to 95.1 for culture and environment. 

Jon Copestake, editor of the Global Liveability Survey, said Melbourne and four other Australian cities in the top ten made it to the top because of their investment programs.

“Australian cities continue to thrive in terms of livability — not only do they benefit from the natural advantages of low population density, but they have continued to improve with some high profile infrastructure investments.”

However, despite Britain spending 9 billion pounds ($14.1 billion) on its recent Olympic Games, cultural Olympiad and infrastructure improvement for the capital, the survey shows that the games had no immediate impact on the ranking for London. 

London scored 87.2 percent in total, a score which placed it at 55 in the rankings, a drop of 2 places since last year and the northern “capital” of Manchester, also ranked rather poorly at 51st place. 

Copestake said the U.K.’s ratings in the survey were partly due to civil unrest and stagnation in cultural terms, despite the Games.

"U.K. cities have seen a slight downgrade in liveability due to the mass outbreaks of civil unrest that took place last year. Although hosting the Olympics subsequently provided a definite boost for London's profile, it was already among the world's most vibrant cities with plenty to see and do, so [the Olympics] had ."

Civil unrest and instability also affected the scores seen in the worse performing cities with the Arab Spring, the threat of terrorism and violence being the biggest detractors from a city’s scores.  The 10 cities at the bottom of the rankings are situated in Africa, the Middle East of Asia, with Dhaka in Bangladesh retaining the unenviable title of being the least livable locationsurveyed.

However, investment in infrastructure can help a city move up the scale, as seen in Chinese cities of Suzhou, Guangzhou, and Shanghai improving in the ranking as the result of ongoing growth and investment in the region.