A Critique of The Economist’s ‘Most Livable Cities’ Report

AS follow -up to my earlier report on ‘Where the livin’ is easiest’ – I came cross this excellent post on THIS BIG CITY , by Tao Rugkapan via Encountering Urbanization’s news roundup (phew! the verbosity required by trying to credit every one I find info from is a study in social media in itself – subject of future posts soon!)

Is Vancouver the best city and Zimbabwe’s Harare the worst city? Yes, according to this year’s Global Liveability by the Economist. The ranking considers indicators in five categories – Stability, Healthcare, Culture & Environment, Education, and Infrastructure.

The choice of indicators seems ambitiously comprehensive and fair. The top-ten chart is populated by, perhaps unsurprisingly, cities of Canada, Northern Europe, and Australasia. However, as far as ‘liveability’ is concerned, how the cities are ranked exposes a systemic bias. To be sure, Vancouver, Vienna, and Melbourne are admirably high-quality cities in and of themselves. By the same token, it goes without saying Nigeria’s Lagos, who scores a scanting 33% in Education, is no child’s paradise. But how the indicators are chosen reveals the report’s pre-selected audience.”

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