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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The top ten cities in the world

The Economist has surveyed cities from all over the world to find the ones that are the most livable (i.e. best places to live). Here's a summary of the criteria described in the report [A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview]
The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses, from benchmarking perceptions of development levels to assigning hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in any given location, and allows for direct comparison between locations.
Bjørn Østman alerted me to the list by posting a link to this article: The World's Most Livable Cities All Have One Big Thing in Common. What do the top ten cities all have in common?—none of them are in the USA.

Here's the list ....

1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver, Canada
4. Toronto, Canada
5 (tie). Adelaide, Australia
5 (tie). Calgary, Canada
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Helsinki, Finland
9. Perth, Australia
10. Auckland, New Zealand

There's obviously more to "livability" than meets the eye. Some of these places are a lot less interesting than Paris, London, or New York.

I think the ranking also depends very much on how much money you have. I'd need to be offered a hell of a lot more money if I were to consider a move to Calgary, Helsinki, or Perth.1

1. I've never been to Perth but it doesn't seem like a place I'd like to live.


  1. I'd need to be offered a hell of a lot more money if I were to consider a move to Calgary
    I think you have that backwards - having done the reverse move (Calgary to TO) I found it much more expensive to live in TO.

    1. I don't think that's what Larry was talking about.

    2. I was trying to be nice about it. Had I more previous experience with TO, I don't think I'd have moved there,,,

  2. I know that places like Canada and Australia always like to trumpet how they beat the US on various livability rankings, and having lived in Canada for a few years in the late 90s/early 2000s, and having travelled in Australia, I agree that they are nice places. And yet I've run into far more Canadian and Australian scientists working in the US than US scientists working in those countries. I wonder why?

    1. Grant money & the number of jobs. The US used to be the biggest (both per-capita and in total dollars) investors into academic research. Not too surprisingly, many people followed the money.

      Of course, now that those two are becoming scarce in the US, a of of them are coming home. Our last hire saw over a dozen US-living Canadian scientists apply for one position.

    2. What Bryan said.

      Plus the fact that Americans in general are reluctant to leave their own country. The top labs in my university are able to attract postdocs from all over the world but rarely from the USA. We don't know why but the general assumption is that Americans (and their partners) are not very comfortable living in a foreign country.

    3. the general assumption is that Americans (and their partners) are not very comfortable living in a foreign country.

      I would guess Canadian and European income tax rates might look quite high to people from the US. The things those taxes pay for (health care, post-secondary education) may not look as valuable to post-docs, who I'm guessing will tend to be relatively young without a lot of chronic ailments and whose children will likely not be college age.

  3. Toronto today is a terrible city. I like Rob Ford but its not Toronto the good in anyway. Clean , money, security is not the most important things.
    This list is stupid. If these places were the best on earth then everyone from the other great cities etc would want to live in them. yanks never want to move to Canada.
    Calgary? Australia? Finland? Who wants to live in finland?
    it must be about general wealth ratios and welfare and other stuff.
    Most people I knew growing up in toronto left or would of they could.
    All internet lists are stupid.
    I'm glad God let me be born and bred in toronto and Canada but there are bigger spiritual, emotional, soul ideas that determine a home.
    A mansion is not a home if one is not at home in the mansion.

    1. yanks never want to move to Canada.

      I'm a "Yank" who had a consulting job involving a lot of work in Canada, so I wound up renting a house in Edmonton from about 1990-93 or so. I visited several of the larger Canadian cities a few times during that period, including Calgary and Vancouver. If I could find a sufficiently good economic situation (not much call for American lawyers in Canada), I would move to Vancouver in a minute. Calgary, maybe - beautiful area, but way too cold in winter for my wife to want to live there. There were many things I liked about Toronto (the food! - a million different choices), but for me it wasn't that different in general atmosphere from a large American city.

  4. Speaking as a resident of Perth: I've seen this sort of verdict about it a few times, and I always take it as a dire statement on what sort of a s***hole everywhere else must be.

    1. Maybe "It could be worse" should be your town slogan.

  5. I'm making a stop over in Toronto in November. I have about 8 hours. What do you suggest that I should see?

    1. Just saw the new aquarium. Its fantastic great. 30 bucks but great. Try to avoid kids and hugh crowds but a must see. Adult worthy.

    2. Thanks Robert! Any restaurants or historical places not to be missed?

    3. I'd recommend a stroll thru Kensington Market, especially if you're here on a weekend.

    4. Thanks, allays good to know where the local hipster hangout place is. Anything else unique to Toronto?