The Definition & Creation of Liveable Cities

August 1st, 2019
Everyone wants to live in a location where life is easy to manage and stress levels are as low as possible. With most people in the Western world living in cities, politicians and town planners are constantly striving to create the most liveable conditions possible. From transportation and accommodation through to work and school opportunities, there are lots of things to take into consideration when measuring liveability. Let's take a look at two leading ways to measure quality of life and see what it means for the future of city life.

The Economist Intelligence Unit releases its Global Liveability Index each year, with this report designed to highlight the most liveable cities in the world. For the first time in eight years, there was a new front runner, with Austria's capital Vienna taking the top stop from Melbourne, Australia. The Global Liveability Index 2018 looked at140 cities around the world, with Vienna and Melbourne followed by Osaka, Japan; Calgary, Canada; Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Adelaide, Australia. Amazingly, both Australia and Canada had three cities in the top ten. ; ;

The Global Liveability index looks at a number of issues that are likely to affect all residents, including things like crime rates, healthcare quality, culture and entertainment, infrastructure, and levels of corruption. Each city is assigned a relative rating for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Vienna and Melbourne both scored a maximum 100 points for healthcare, education, and infrastructure, with Melbourne ahead for culture and Vienna coming out in front in the stability category with 100 points compared to Melbourne's 95.

While it's definitely the most well regarded, the Economist index is not the only way to measure liveability. There is also a Mercer survey which measures global cities according to their quality of life. According to Mercer, Vienna is also the best city in the world to live, with the Austrian capital having held top spot for ten long years. This list has eight European cities in the top ten, with Zurich coming in second; and Vancouver, Munich, and Auckland all tying for third place. Interestingly, this list has Sydney above Melbourne, at 11th and 17th place respectively. Wellington, New Zealand comes in at 15th, in between the two Australian state capitals.

When it comes to creating liveable cities, it's important to look at broad issues that are likely to affect all residents. This is exactly what these two indexes attempt to do, which is why they offer so many valuable clues when people are looking for a new place to call home. Along with costs and other quantitative factors, the definition of liveability also needs to consider the underlying qualitative factors that support things like mental health and wellbeing. With more people moving to cities every day, and location known to affect both quality of life and life expectancy, it's important to be aware of our environment and how it influences everything we do.