Feb 2011 24

Vancouver – The World’s Most Livable City

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Vancouver by Jennifer Boriss Vancouver by Jennifer Boriss

Congratulations, Vancouverites! The city we live in is once again — for the fifth time in a row — the city with the highest quality of living, at least according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s list of most livable cities in the world. And some people still wonder: why are those British Columbia real estate prices so high? Besides Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary also made it to the top 10, at fourth and fifth place, respectively. Australia was also successful, with four cities ranked among the ten most livable in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks the cities with a score based on 30 factors from five wider categories: stability, health care, culture & environment, education, and infrastructure. Vancouver received 98 points in the ranking, which was enough for first place among the 140 cities surveyed.

The city profited from its successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which provided a better score in culture and environment, but also improved infrastructure for a greater impact. The report doesn’t mention any of the drawbacks the current Vancouver administration battles, like the trouble with the Olympic Village, homelessness and drug trafficking. Petty crime is an issue, according to the report, but a minor one compared to the U.S., since the murder rate in Vancouver is only half of the average recorded in U.S. cities.

The Vancouver Sun interviewed Rick Antonson, the president of Tourism Vancouver, on Vancouver’s victory over all the other cities in the chart. “This is something we can never, ever take for granted,” he said. “As a Vancouver resident it’s wonderful since you have your own set of glasses to look through. Given what this means to visitors, this means the city has all the right attributes. But being able to sustain something like that is a constant watch. It has to be top of mind that we do not let something like that slip.”

Mid-sized cities in developed countries did well, as their low population densities provided better living conditions. Less congestion and crime and higher culture and infrastructure points secured their higher ranks in the survey. Pittsburgh was the most livable U.S. city with 29th place, while Los Angeles climbed to the 44th rank and New York stayed at 56th. London improved by one place, only to end on the 53rd spot, and Paris was deemed the 16th most livable city. Osaka, ranking 12th, is Asia’s most livable city.

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