Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary sit atop global ‘liveability’ rankings

Perhaps this explains why real estate in those cities is so expensive.

Yet another international survey of places to live around the globe puts three Canadian centres at the very top of the list in terms of “liveability.”

The latest report, from the paid research arm of The Economist Group, ranks Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary three, four and five respectively among 140 centres around the world in which to inhabit.

MORE: Home prices in red-hot Toronto race higher and higher

Sweet spot

It appears Canadian centres reside in a relative sweet spot where many of the perks found in bigger global hubs can be found, but without some of the problems found in larger cities.

“Global centres fare less well in the ranking than mid-sized cities,” the report said. “Global business centres tend to be victims of their own success. The ‘big city buzz’ that they enjoy can overstretch infrastructure and cause higher crime rates.”

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“New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are all prestigious hubs with a wealth of recreational activity, but all suffer from higher levels of crime, congestion and public transportation problems.”

Of the top 10, six are cities that reside in either Australia or Canada (see below).

Here’s the top- and bottom-10 in this year’s rankings:

Conflicts hit living standards

And the livability of Canadian cities in general has improved relative to most, the report says, as fresh conflicts disrupt once stable — or at least stabler — areas, dragging down rankings for cities in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

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Damascus, St. Petersburg and Moscow have taken hits in the EIU’s 2014 ranking. Cities like the Bulgarian capital of Sofia – even Athens – have lost points because of the renewed instability caused by armed conflict surrounding them.

“Over half of the changes taking place over the past 12 months have been driven by deteriorating scores, with instability re-emerging as a key factor in influencing global scores,” the report said.

Events in Ukraine, in particular, have had significant knock-on effects for cities such as Kiev, Moscow and St Petersburg.”

Syria’s civil war continues to damage living standards in Damascus, “although the escalation in Iraq is not reflected in our ranking because Baghdad is not included in the survey.”

The report adds, “Despite events in Israel, Tel Aviv’s rating is unchanged, largely because the existing stability score already accounted for the unrest now taking place.”

Liveability falls

“The ranking…shows that since 2009 average liveability across the world has fallen by 0.7 per cent led by a 1.3 per cent fall in the score for stability and safety,” the EIU said in a statement.

The EIU’s survey assesses a liveability ranking based on a number of key factors, including stability (25%) and the quality of health care (20%), culture and the environment (25%), education (10%) and infrastructure (20%).


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