OWhether you’re planning a big move or just want to experience a wonderful new urban destination on your travels, consider pointing your compass to the north this year.
Three Canadian cities have made it to the top 10 of the Global Liveability Index, an annual ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that rates 172 cities around the world out of more than 30 factors, from health care, infrastructure, education and crime rates to access to cultural and sporting activities and green spaces.
Vienna snatched the top spot from last year’s winner Auckland, who rose from no. 1 to no. 34 this year largely due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After slipping to 12th place in 2021 as its museums and restaurants were closed, Vienna “has since rebounded to the top spot, the position it held in 2018 and 2019,” the report said. “Stability and good infrastructure are the main assets of the city for its inhabitants, supported by good health care and numerous opportunities for culture and entertainment.
Other Western European urban centers in the top 10 include Copenhagen (#2), Zurich (#3, tied), Geneva (#6), Frankfurt (#7) and Amsterdam (#9) — all outperforming perennial favorites Paris (#19), London (#33) and Barcelona (#35).
Closer to home, Canadian cities in the top echelon of 2022 are Calgary (tied for 3rd with Zurich), Vancouver (#5) and Toronto (#8).
No US city has earned a place in the top rankings. The biggest movers over the past year are Los Angeles (up 18 places to No. 37) and Houston (down 25 places to No. 56).
Since last year, Oceania has seen the biggest decline. Australia and New Zealand both topped in 2021, when border closures reduced Covid cases. “However, that changed when a more contagious wave of Covid-19 hit in late 2021, making closed borders less defensive,” the report said.
In 2021, Auckland topped the Global Quality of Living Index; this year the city has dropped to 33rd place. Similarly, last year Australia had four cities in the top 10 – Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth – while this year only Melbourne held on, tied for 10th place with Osaka, Japan. . Other Australian cities did no better than 27th place.
Kyiv was not rated this year after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Moscow and St. Petersburg fell in the rankings on “censorship” and the impact of Western sanctions.
Wars, conflict and terrorism plague the bottom 10 cities in the ranking, seven of which are in the Middle East and Africa. Among the least liveable cities are Damascus, Syria; Tripoli, Libya; Lagos, Nigeria and Algiers, Algeria.
Looking ahead to next year, the EIU will keep an eye on how rising prices around the world are affecting livability. “This sharp rise in inflation will endanger the quality of life in many cities, especially if there are also disruptions in food and fuel supplies caused by the war in Ukraine,” the report said. . “Either residents will be forced to pay much higher prices (which will make it harder to enjoy the culture and environment of their cities), or governments will shoulder more of the burden (which will jeopardize their ability to deliver high-quality public services).”