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.”

Continue reading

Where the livin’ is easiest : Vancouver: Safe & boring?

The Economist Annual Livability Ranking rates the Canadian city tops in its survey of 140 of the worlds cities – but I wonder of this safe secure and lifestyle is what makes for really creative and equitable cities:

“Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32.”

“VANCOUVER remains the most liveable city in the world, according to the latest annual ranking compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Canadian city scored 98 out of a maximum 100, as it has done for the past two years.

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 top ten cities occupy the same positions as last year, with the exception of Melbourne and Vienna, which have swapped places.”

“At the other end of the ranking, Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, is in 140th place, thanks to particularly poor scores for its stability, healthcare and infrastructure. Somewhere between the extremes sit London and New York in 53rd and 56th places. They are let down by stability scores of 75 and 70, the result in turn of poor scores for the perceived threat of terror and the rates of petty and violent crime.”