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Three Aussie cities make top 10 most liveable in the world

Life in Melbourne is the second best in the world, according to the latest Economist liveability survey.

The Global Liveability Index saw the Austrian city of Vienna crowned the world’s best for the second year in a row, narrowly beating Melbourne. The big improver, however, was Sydney, which moved up from fifth to third. 

The other cities that made up the top five were Osaka in Japan and Calgary in Canada. Adelaide was the other Australian city to make it in the top 10, coming in at tenth overall.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 ranking looked at five key categories for determining  liveability, including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure .

Both Melbourne and Vienna were separated by only 0.7 percentage points, with Vienna scoring 99.1 out of 100 and Melbourne 98.4.

Dr Lucy Gunn, a research fellow from RMIT, believes that while the index is a bit of fun, it does show how appealing Australia is as a destination.

“Ultimately, we’re lucky in Australia because by international standards, all of our major cities are liveable,” Dr Gunn said.

“Last year the only difference between Melbourne and Vienna was 0.7 of a percentage point, and this year it’s the same, which in practical terms, is nothing.”

According to Dr Gunn, the Global Liveability Index is a useful tool to understand broad ideas about cities and the liveability standards, however, the measures are not perfect.

“What’s important to remember is that the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index is a composite rating made up 30 indicators, with only four of them being quantitative,” she explained.

“The rest of them are based on a rating from the EIU itself so there’s almost no objectivity in the development of this index, and it’s really just a marketing tool to help executives understand, in a broad sense, a city’s living conditions.

“Understanding what constitutes a liveable city is much more complex than the opinion of the EIU, which is what ultimately influences this liveability index.

“Instead, we should be using objective measures based on robust data of what’s in our environment. This helps us understand where the greatest need, say, for transport or parks and open spaces is, which helps planners and decision makers take action.

“It’s possible that the EIU index simply distracts us from considering what’s really important to focus on as residents with a say on how our cities get developed.”

Other Australian and New Zealand cities prominent in the top 20 were Auckland (12th), Perth (14th) and Brisbane (18th).

The Top Ten

  1. Vienna, Austria (99.1)
  2. Melbourne, Australia (98.4)
  3. Sydney, Australia (98.1)
  4. Osaka, Japan (97.7)
  5. Calgary, Canada (97.5)
  6. Vancouver, Canada (97.3)
  7. Tokyo, Japan (97.2)
  8. Toronto, Canada (97.2)
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark (96.8)
  10. Adelaide, Australia (96.6)

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.