Melbourne’s #1 (again) but is it a fair reflection?
THE HARD WORD | So Melbourne was again voted the world’s most livable city beating Vienna, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth to the post.
IT seems Melbourne is handed this gong every other week. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found the capital of Victoria to be the world’s most livable city. It’s Global Livability Survey compares 140 cities across the globe and Melbourne has come out running for the second consecutive year.
According to the survey, Adelaide is more ‘livable’ than Sydney and Perth, while Brisbane came in at number 20. More on the absurdity of this in a moment.
The EIU said: “Australian cities continue to thrive in terms of livability – not only do they benefit from the natural advantages of low population density but they have continued to improve with some high profile infrastructure investments.”
It assesses the concept of livability by comparing the best and worst of living conditions. What started as a test of whether HR departments needed to hand out hardship allowances to expats, is now, well, nothing more than a bragging right.
But the crucial point is that it was never intended to measure a permanent resident’s thoughts on the subject.
Having lived in Melbourne for many years it is undoubtedly a superb city. Sporting events like Formula 1, the Australian Open and the AFL Grand Final are, among others, major drawcards for visitors and for Melburnians alike. The coffee culture is enormous, the bar scene is brilliant, the shopping is plentiful, and the weather, while temperamental, is fine.
But like any major city it has its own set of problems. Public transport, as any Melburnian will cry from the rooftops, is an absolute disgrace. Various government’s over many years have been obsessed with investing into the city’s roads while ignoring the thing they should have focussed on a long time ago. Melbourne’s CBD is an incredibly rough and unsafe place to be late on a Saturday night, and rent prices are astronomical. As the city can’t spread south, the ongoing expansion of the suburbs continues to expose Melbourne’s lack of foresight and planning.
The Hard Word has friends who reside in, according to the EIU, the world’s most livable cities, but many of them would give their left arm to live in cities which they believe are far more desirable, the likes of New York, Paris, San Francisco and wait for it… London.
Yes the English capital did mention in the survey, way, way down at number 55. Having lived in London for two years and spent time in each of the aforementioned, it amazes this scribe that these heaving metropolises don’t feature higher up the list. At least ahead of Brisbane…? But they never do.
As an EIU spokesman told a British national last week: “In a way London is a victim of its own success… the availability of good housing limits London. The transport infrastructure is slightly overburdened. Healthcare doesn’t score as well as it could. London has suffered from terrorism and crime.” The spokesman also admits that Australian and Canadian cities score highly because of their low population densities.
So it it more that just the world’s biggest (and best) cities are considered less desirable to temporary expats because they’re just so bloody big?
Of course all of these cities have their own set of issues, yet they are not hindered by their enormous populations, rather that’s what makes them.
Perhaps beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.