Vienna waltzes to the top of the quality of life rankings

Vienna

The city that has given us Christophe Waltz, Schubert and the wiener (no sniggering at the back), though not, curiously, the Viennese whirl – as this came from Britain –  now finds itself at the top of the quality of life rankings.

Vienna has displaced Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city, ending seven consecutive years at the top of the EIU’s Global Liveability Index. Osaka and Tokyo are meanwhile in the top 10 for the first time, and Hong Kong has overtaken its regional rival Singapore:

  1. Vienna
  2. Melbourne
  3. Osaka
  4. Calgary
  5. Sydney
  6. Vancouver
  7. Toronto
  8. Tokyo
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Adelaide

Before even downloading the report, it had occurred to me that high risers Vienna and Melbourne have something in common: their love of the coffee house. Vienna’s coffee house culture is laden with history and is now UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Melbourne is now arguably the global capital of coffee. Third-placed Osaka also has good coffee – as I recall from visiting Kuromon Market – but it might have some catching up to do.

But coffee or not, it’s hard not to shake off the feeling that this index is for the elite. At the end of the day, these are very expensive cities indeed. Good liveability comes at a high price.

The EIU Global Liveability Index 2018 can be seen here (registration required).

Vienna offers the world’s highest quality of living – again

Horse and cart in Vienna

We’ve Wien here before. Vienna once more tops Mercer’s annual Quality of Living survey, for the 8th year in a row, coming ahead of six other European cities in the top 10:

  1. Vienna
  2. Zurich
  3. Munich
  4. Auckland
  5. Dusseldorf
  6. Vancouver
  7. Frankfurt
  8. Geneva
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Basel

According to Mercer, the data was largely analysed between September and November 2016. Regionally, Vancouver is the city with the highest quality of living in the Americas, Singapore is top in Asia-Pacific, and Dubai is highest in Africa and the Middle East.

Alongside the 2017 survey, a city infrastructure ranking was awarded that assessed things like access to electricity, phone and mail services, as well as public transportation, traffic congestion and the rage of international flights from local airports. Singapore – also a sovereign state, as well as a city –  was named best worldwide for infrastructure. This might not be a surprise:  Changi is announced year after year as the world’s best airport.

Looking at the top 10 list, all of these cities have something in common…but I can’t quite put my finger on it. They have smaller populations (London, while not enormous, is 40th for Quality of Living) and are relatively unhurried. Could it be the presence of mountains? Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany and Canada, all with snow-capped peaks, have cities in the top five. (I’m only half-joking.)

They also offer a degree of consistency. Barring disaster, Vienna will be the world’s best in 2018, and cities in Nordic countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will again show high rankings. European cities will continue to dominate the rankings, even amidst political and economic turbulence.