Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 09/2012

A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview

August 2012

Economist Intelligence Unit


With Vancouver slipping down the ranking slightly in 2011, Melbourne remains the most liveable location of the 140 cities surveyed, followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna. In fact, there has been no change among the top tier. The score and ranking of the top 65 cities remain identical to six months ago. This may primarily reflect renewed stability as some economies begin to recover from the global economic crisis of a few years ago, although the continuing crisis in the euro zone and tighter fiscal budgets may have also slowed planned improvements, meaning that scores have remained static rather than moving up or down. Certainly, infrastructural development has been a driver over the last few years, with improvements to infrastructure in key cities in Australia, where the federal government initiated an ambitious long-term road-building programme in 2010. Vancouver is also embarking on a series of high-profile projects. Work began on an “Evergreen” mass transit line in 2012 and the authorities are reported to be considering measures such as “scramble intersections” or road tolls to counteract congestion. For cities in general, these measures will no doubt have a long-term benefit, but in the short term they can be disruptive.