Deteriorating liveability in cities worldwide, reveals 2016 EIU Global Liveability Ranking

Albert Park, Melbourne (credit: Tim Serong)

Melbourne held on to top spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Global Liveability Ranking – but only just. Vienna was second (97.4), followed by Vancouver (97.3) and Toronto (97.2). Australia and Canada maintained their dominance, accounting for 6 cities in a largely unchanged top 10:

  1. Melbourne
  2. Vienna
  3. Vancouver
  4. Toronto
  5. Calgary
  6. Adelaide
  7. Perth
  8. Auckland
  9. Helsinki
  10. Hamburg

Meanwhile, the Middle East showed the strongest rise in liveability, with Tehran, Dubai and Kuwait City all among the top 5 cities with the biggest improvement. Damascus, however, showed the biggest slump, with a 26.1% fall in liveability.

In fact, worsening liveability was seen in 20% of the cities surveyed, explained by the EIU to be:

largely a result of heightened fears over terrorism with more than 1,000 reported attacks in 2016 so far, with incidents in France, Turkey, the US and Belgium being the most high profile. Factors such as social unrest in many US cities due to the deaths of black people in police custody, tensions in Eastern Europe and Asia and the ongoing civil wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya have compounded the decline.

Most Millennials planning to leave their city, says Youthfulcities

Aircraft wing tip

Speaking with young friends in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and London, it’s apparent to me that Millennials in advanced economies across the globe share the same concern – and I’m not referring to finding elusive Pokemon Go characters. In short, the cost of living is too high, they are fed up, and they are anxious to get out. Hongkongers ask me what it’s like to live in London; young people in London meanwhile look for an exit of their own.

This was confirmed recently in a survey by Youthfulcities, an organisation helping cities understand and engage Millennials. The Urban Millennial Survey, now in its third year, found that 58% of Millennials say they will leave their city in the next decade because of affordability concerns, limited employment opportunities and safety. Furthermore, only 17% of Millennials feel that their city governments are listening to them.

The survey gauged the opinions of 15,000 young people aged 15-34 (are 15 years olds “Millennials”? Anyway…) in 34 cities worldwide, and described the demographic shift of young people voting with their feet as a “global phenomenon”:

From the perspective of Millennials, there are no negative consequences to their increasing mobility. It opens up more opportunities, experiences, learning and self-development. Youth may leave for short-term opportunities like post secondary education, short term jobs or travel and then return to their cities. They may be tempted to leave for good.

It’s a fascinating read, and an important one. Young people are our present and our future, yet the current reality is not pretty for many. Based on experience, I would suggest the following to Millennials: leave. Pack your bags, and get out!

There can be no negative consequences. See and experience the world, and do it now. Make connections across the globe and embrace different cultures. Join the digital nomads tribe, and live life on the cheap selling what you know best, from social media consulting to teaching English or something new and wondrous. It might not be easy (it most likely won’t be), but it would make more sense than grinding it out in a city whose interests lie elsewhere. Why stay?

Japan unsurprisingly dominates Monocle Quality of Life survey


Monocle magazine has announced its top 25 most liveable cities worldwide for the 10th year running. This year for the first time, the publication announced, its rankings took into account quality of nightlife (which makes sense to me – the world’s finest cities, in my experience, also have a thriving night scene):

We add to the metrics each year and this time we’ve measured cities’ nocturnal qualities too, from closing times to the places that still serve a good meal after 22.00. Despite these new metrics, when looking back over the previous surveys it’s striking to see how the fundamentals of what makes a liveable city have remained the same.

Monocle’s love affair with Japan continues, with the survey showing 3 Japanese cities in the top 10 – Fukuoka perhaps being the most surprising entry, sandwiched (or sushi rolled) in between usual favourites Melbourne and Sydney. Europe’s great capitals Berlin, Vienna and Copenhagen are also included in the top 10, and will likely feature for years to come.

Lower down the list, Asia’s world cities Hong Kong and Singapore are divided only by Barcelona. The top 25 in full:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Berlin
  3. Vienna
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Munich
  6. Melbourne
  7. Fukuoka
  8. Sydney
  9. Kyoto
  10. Stockholm
  11. Vancouver
  12. Helsinki
  13. Zurich
  14. Madrid
  15. Hamburg
  16. Lisbon
  17. Dusseldorf
  18. Hong Kong
  19. Barcelona
  20. Singapore
  21. Amsterdam
  22. Auckland
  23. Honolulu
  24. Portland
  25. Montreal