Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary Make "Most Livable Cities" List

By Joel Cuttiford

Three Canadian cities rank among the top 10 of the world’s most livable cities, according to a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report found Melbourne, Australia to be the most livable city of the 140 included in the study, followed by Vienna.  Vancouver and Toronto came in at third and fourth, while Calgary tied for fifth with Australia’s Adelaide.

Each city in the report is assigned a score between one and 100 (one being tolerable and 100 being ideal) based on thirty factors that fall into five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

The cities near the top of the rankings have clear similarities, such as they tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthy countries with relatively low population levels.  “This can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure,” the report says.

Though many of the top cities showed little sign of change in their scores, “localized instability” in other cities affected theirs.  Recent events in Ukraine decreased the scores for Kyiv as well as for Russian cities Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Protests in Bangkok negatively impacted the city’s livability index, while the score for Damascus has “continued to decline” due to political unrest.

Overall, the average global livability score has fallen by 0.16 percentage points over the past six months and 0.22 percentage points over the past year, to 75.33.

“When a five-year view is taken, global livability has declined by 0.68 percentage points, highlighting the fact that the last five years have been characterized by heightened unrest in the wake of the global economic crisis, which has undermined many of the developmental gains that cities may have experienced through public policy and investment,” the report said.

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