Which city has knocked Melbourne off its perch? The World’s Most Liveable Cities 2018 has surprising results – here are the best and the worst.

For seven years, Melbourne ruled the roost as the most liveable city in the world. Now, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 ranking of the world’s most liveable cities 2018, we’ve got a new winner. And it’s postcard pretty Vienna.

It’s also the first time that a European city has made it to the top of the list – the downgraded threat of terrorist attacks and low crime rates make its stability factor very appealing. Also, Vienna is quite the eco-friendly city for its green spaces, parks and well preserved architecture.

The annual list is compiled based on factors like  stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure in 140 different cities.

Vienna’s score is enviable at 99.1, pushing out Melbourne into second place – though not too far – at 98.4. Buzzing Osaka in Japan landed the third spot – its rise in quality of public transport and lower crime rates has made it vastly more attractive.

Australia and Canada decided to sit tight in the top ten, each boasting three cities. Here are the top ten cities:

1. Vienna

2. Melbourne

3. Osaka

4. Calgary

5. Sydney

6. Vancouver

7. Toronto & Tokyo (tie)

9. Copenhagen

10. Adelaide

Copenhagen, Denmark happiest countries

Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Bente Jønsson via Pixabay

The report did say that “Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries.”

The researchers also noted that several cities in the top 10 had relatively low population densities which fostered “a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure”.

Australia and Canada, researchers said, have an overall average population density of 3.2 and four people per square kilometre respectively, compared to a global average of 58. Only Japan stands out in this regard: with a nationwide average of 347 people per sq km.

Hong Kong moved up to 35th position.

What about global cities like New York, London and Paris?

Researchers said wealthy financial capitals such as Paris (19th), London (48th) and New York (57th) tended to be “victims of their own success”. It led to higher crime rates and overstretched infrastructure, not making for ideal liveability conditions.

Which cities fared the worst?

The five worst cities to live in were Damascus right at the bottom of the list. The others include Dhaka, Lagos, Karachi and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Kiev in Ukraine, has been a victim of political violence, civil war and the loss of Crimea to Russia. It’s no surprise that it saw the largest drop in its liveability over the last five years (-12.6 percent).

Finally, the hurricane that hit San Juan in Puerto Rico, also hit it hard in terms of the most liveable cities 2018. Damascus and Caracas haven’t done too well either on the index.

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