NZ’s Auckland Named Most Liveable City, European Cities Lose Out
Asia-Pacific cities dominated the top 10 rankings this year, taking over several European cities.
The Economist’s annual ranking of most liveable cities has been stirred up due to the COVID pandemic, putting New Zealand’s metropolitan city Auckland at the top as the world’s most liveable city from its previous rank at 12 in 2019’s survey.
On the other hand, Vienna in Austria has dropped out of the top 10 after being number one in 2018 and 2019.
Moreover, Asia-Pacific cities dominated the top 10 rankings this year, taking over several European cities, even though overall liveability declined around the world.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) survey of “liveability” ranks cities based on more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors covering five broad categories –stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
New indicators such as stress on healthcare resources were also added by the EIU due to the pandemic.
According to EIU, Auckland’s rise in rank has come mostly due to the country’s successful handling of COVID-19, allowing schools, theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions to remain open during the survey period from 22 February to 21 March this year.
In order to slow the spread of the virus, New Zealand had implemented a nationwide lockdown for several weeks last year. Its international borders were also shut to most travelers.
Osaka in Japan ranked second on the The Global Liveability Index 2021, followed by Adelaide in Australia and Wellington in New Zealand.
Global chief economist at the EIU Simon Baptist was quoted as saying, “There’s been quite a big shake-up in terms of, certainly the top 10, but also right throughout the ranking, based upon the COVID-19 situation,” he told CNBC.
Cities in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, have remained relatively open, with fewer cases which made their healthcare systems resilient, Baptist added.
Baptist explained that during the survey, the cities that were on lockdown or experiencing a surge have reduced scores, because of which many European cities came down the ranks.
However, Europe and North America are actively vaccinating their populations, which will lead to opening up of other services and may better their future rankings.
Baptist further said, “Asia has some of the world’s most livable cities, it also has some of the least livable,” CNBC quoted. Damascus in Syria remained the world’s least livable city.
The most significant rise was recorded by the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu, which came 14th in the ranking, moving up 46 places due to its containment of the pandemic and fast vaccination rollout.
(With inputs from CNBC)
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