Every year, the world’s most liveable city is ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group. This London-based group tracks monthly country reports, gives five-year country economic forecasts, and provides industry and service reports to countries for their liveability score.
You may remember in last week’s post, World’s Best Villages, I suggested we have a contest to name the world’s most liveable large city. I was surprised no one came up with the right answer. Continue reading to discover the most liveable city.
Over 30 liveability factors are considered for each city. These include stability, exceptional healthcare, arts and culture, favorable rental conditions, low crime rates, education, minimal pollution and clean air, and world-class public transportation. Others have rated our mystery city for its parks and vineyards.
The city in question received a score of 100 in all areas but one—environment. The reason is UNESCO put this city on its endangered list for its plans to build more high-rise buildings. These plans will impact the nature of the city, obstructing the views, and crowding more people into a smaller land area where there are already already 2 million inhabitants.
The Covid pandemic altered the yearly list of most liveable cities with most falling in the ranks. The city in question was ranked number one in 2018 and 2019 but fell to 12th place in the 2021 rankings. Regaining the top spot in 2022 produced the superior rating during 3 of the last 5 years, still an impressive feat. Despite Covid, two countries had cities rising to the top ranks—Australia and New Zealand. They placed severe border controls resulting in its citizens having few Covid restrictions.
Have you named the city yet, or do you need more clues? Try these.
The term Smart City has recently been coined to denote a community which uses data collected electronically to manage assets, resources, and services to improve the efficiency and liveability of an urban area. Listen to Peter Hanke, the Executive City Councilor of this city’s Smart City program say, “Our strategy is to underscore development in the face of climate change. We are working to achieve climate neutrality by 2040 to achieve an advanced quality of life for our citizens.”
Hanke goes on to say his city has been a model for social housing, a term applied to low rent or affordable housing, where the landlords and builders have a social conscience for their occupants. Along with the building projects, the city has placed an emphasis on open space with the result of 53% green space—its many parks.
You have probably guessed by now the city in question is Vienna. Vienna has worked hard to achieve this ranking (Covid aside) and continues working hard to retain the top spot. Its contenders, according to the 2022 rankings, are:
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. (tie) Zurich, Switzerland, and Calgary, Canada
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
10. (tie) Osaka, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia
Note the top nine cities are either in Europe or Canada, and no city in the United States made this list. Except for Japan, no cities in Asia or in South America made the cut either. Cost of living seems to be one liveability factor which has not been addressed. I think the list might change if this were factored in.
What do you think of when you think of Vienna? I suspect most people would choose the arts—fine art, architecture, drama, and music. Are there others? There are over 100 museums in Vienna, a high number but low in comparison to other major cities in the world. For the architecture lover, Vienna has a stunning and eclectic mix of historic, modern, and contemporary buildings.
Vienna also has some of the best German- and English-speaking live theater. The Burg Theater is the pinnacle of German classical drama, and the English Theater is the oldest English-language theater in Europe. Yet, I wonder if most of you would chose music as your first choice for the arts in Vienna.
Vienna is often called the City of Music for its many musical attributes. Both Mozart and Beethoven called Vienna home, as did Mahler, Schubert, Haydn, Brahms, and the Strauss family (the Vienna waltzes). Also famous are the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Boys’ Choir (and the less famous Vienna Girls’ Choir).
The city is also called the City of Dreams, referring to its famous psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. A famous food item found throughout Vienna is the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam.
The fact this best-known city receives 6.8 million visitors a year speaks well for all of the attributes it has to offer. Are you ready to pack your bags for Vienna?
Fact: Vienna, not France, invented the croissant
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