Global Cities: Quality of Life, Liveability and Cost of Living Surveys 2012 – What are they worth?

Once again the media are producing their rankings of the worlds cities based on their own internal criteria – Monocle’s July August edition, which I only bought last week, due to the ludicrous airfreight price for recieviing it sooner here at the Southern tip of Africa,  published its “Quality of Life Survey”  with European cities Zurich, Helsinki and Copenhagen as the top three. Nowhere in the magazine or on the website could I find the actual criteria, metrics and methods used for arriving at this obviously very marketable information – the opening statement in the editorial on the rankings give few hints tell u show difficult the chore, ” ..after weeks of deliberation on the meaning of the ever-changing metrics and chewing the fat over the impact of infrastructure projects, our quality of life results are set.” and that ” ..there is always the odd tiff between editors when a much loved city plummets down the league table.”


Other types of rankings hat appear round now are the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2012, here reviewed by Rashiq Fataar at FUTURE CAPE TOWN . The value of these rankings has been an oft debated topic with  divided  views of wether they are  objective enough to warrant a second look or if anyone actually uses these ranking for deciding  to move to the city either in person or their business

Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer, is responsible for compiling the ranking each year. She commented: “Deploying expatriate employees is becoming an increasingly important aspect of multinational companies’ business strategy, including expansion. But with volatile markets and stunted economic growth in many parts of the world, a keen eye on cost efficiency is essential, including on expatriate remuneration packages. Making sure salaries adequately reflect the difference in cost of living to the employee’s home country is important in order to attract and retain the right talent where companies need them.”

The Economist has released its Liveability Rankings with Australia  coming out tops with 4 of its cities in the top 10:

Most liveable cities: 1. Melbourne 97.5 2. Vienna 97.4 3. Vancouver 97.3 4. Toronto 97.2 5=. Calgary 96.6 5=. Adelaide 96.6 7. Sydney 96.1 8. Helsinki 96.0 9. Perth 95.910. Auckland 95.7 … 138. Lagos 39.0 139. Port Moresby 38.9 140. Dhaka 38.7

” AFTER a disappointing performance in the London Olympics, Australia should be cheered by a set of triumphs in a more testing environment: the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest liveability ranking. For the second year in a row, Melbourne has been adjudged the world’s most liveable city, ahead of Vienna and Vancouver, whose slip from the top of the list last year, after almost a decade, riled many western Canadians. Three other Australian cities make it into the top ten, with Adelaide rising from ninth to equal fifth in 12 months.

The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. The cities at the top of the table are separated by tiny differences, with just 0.3 percentage points between first and fourth.

Cities that have suffered unrest in the last year have seen their scores drop. Damascus moves from 117th place to 130th; and London and Manchester, the sites of riots last summer, fall nine and two places respectively to 51st and 55th. Dhaka remains in last place because of particularly poor scores for health care and infrastructure, though it would probably come above the likes of Baghdad and Kabul, which were not considered business centres.”

Cape Town does not feature in any of these rankings of course having its own infamy to live with: of at various times having been ranked as one of the words most unequal cites and some parts of it very violent – you would not want to be a women alone at night in these places!  But we love it here and think we are working on making it a better place to live for all its inhabitants – not just the global elites, many of our children choose to return here to settle after a seemingly obligatory stint in London or some other global centre, despite its problems, uncertainties and high cost of living.


One thought on “Global Cities: Quality of Life, Liveability and Cost of Living Surveys 2012 – What are they worth?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s