Vancouver world's most livable city, Harare the worst: Poll

Toronto 3rd, Calgary in 6th spot

Vancouver has once again snagged top honours as the world’s most livable city, while Harare, Zimbabwe, was pronounced the toughest city to live in.

Canadian and Australian cities hold six of the top 10 slots in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global livability poll, which ranks 140 cities on five factors: health care, stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

“I’m not surprised,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said. “There’s often focus on our challenges and negativity, but when you look at the big picture, Vancouver is a remarkable place to live and work and it’s great to be recognized for that.”

The poll listed Vancouver in first place with a rating of 98 per cent, with the report noting the city’s only challenges were “petty crime and availability of good-quality housing.”

Vancouver was followed by Vienna, Melbourne and Toronto in the top four, while Helsinki, Geneva, Zurich and Sydney also placed among the top-10 livable destinations.

The report noted there wasn’t much difference among the top- 10 cities, which tended to be mid-sized, in developed countries with a low population density and with lower crime levels or infrastructure problems often caused by large populations.

London and Manchester, for instance, also placed in the top tier, but weren’t as high, reflecting “the challenges faced by many large urban centres,” the report said.

“London and Manchester both benefit from the attractions that a big city offers but also suffer from the problems that can be faced such as crime, the threat of terrorist attacks and overloaded transport infrastructure,” said the report’s editor Jon Copestake.

Most of the poorest performing locations were in Asia and Africa, “where civil instability and poor infrastructure present significant challenges,” the report said. “The prospect of violence, whether through domestic protests, civil war or the threat of foreign incursion, plays a significant role in the poorest performing cities,” the report said. “They can exacerbate the impact of instability on other key livability categories.”

Robertson said he hopes Vancouver can use its honour to bring more investment and “help us build an even better city.”


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