If you’re looking for an easy living urban environment in this pandemic world, then look no further than New Zealand and Australia. That’s the bottom line in the latest annual world’s most liveable cities study carried out by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit.
The study has named the Kiwi capital Auckland as the top city in the world right now, with the South Australian state capital of Adelaide coming in third. In all, Aussie and Kiwi cities occupy six of the top 10 placings.
The others are: Wellington in New Zealand (4th) and Perth (6th), Melbourne (9th) and Brisbane (10th) in Australia.
Japanese and Swiss break the alliance
‘Intruders’ in the Anzac alliance are the Japanese cities of Osaka (2nd) and Tokyo (5th), plus the Swiss metros of Zurich (7th) and Geneva (8th).
This year’s Global Liveability Index ranked 140 cities on factors including stability, infrastructure, education and access to healthcare. Typically, European cities feature prominently, but in the latest rankings the pandemic’s effects had a powerful influence on the final outcomes.
“Auckland rose to the top of the ranking owing to its successful approach in containing the Covid-19 pandemic, which allowed its society to remain open and the city to score strongly,” the Economist Intelligence Unit said.
“European cities fared particularly poorly in this year’s edition,” it noted. “Eight of the top 10 biggest falls in the rankings are European cities.”
Pandemic makes some ‘less liveable’
“Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard,” the researchers explained.
The Austrian city of Vienna, for example, has frequently topped the rankings. This time, however, it fell to 12th spot. Hamburg in Germany was the biggest loser; it dropped 34 places to end up in 47th position.
The main reason that European cities fared badly is because access to healthcare and other important services dipped significantly due to the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns.
Cities that you don’t want to live in include Damascus in Syria (bottom of the rankings) and Lagos in Nigeria (second bottom). Port Moresby, the capital of Australia’s near-neighbour Papua New Guinea, was the third least-liveable city.