Liveability survey results prove perplexing
With liveability defined by EIU as political stability, healthcare access, ‚Äúculture and environment,‚ÄĚ education, and infrastructure, Vancouver, Canada took the top spot as the most liveable city of the 140 global cities surveyed for the fifth year running.¬† Canada and Australia dominated the rankings, with both nations accounting for seven out of the top ten.
The top of the survey is not particularly surprising, given the reputation of cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Sydney for having dense development and an efficient public transportation network ‚Äď in addition to easy, widespread access to world-class education and healthcare.¬† Neither is the bottom of EIU‚Äôs survey very earth-shattering ‚Äď no one would dispute the finding that Harare, Zimbabwe and Douala, Cameroon aren‚Äôt particularly liveable.
But the middle of the survey is curious, especially when it comes to which American cities are considered most liveable.
Pittsburgh, Pa. ‚Äď known more for the NFL‚Äôs Pittsburgh Steelers, sandwiches topped with French fries, and an omniscient groundhog than for its liveability ‚Äď was the only US city to make the top 30.¬† Even more curiously, Detroit, where virtually a third of the city is abandoned,¬†and Atlanta, with some of the lowest population densities in the nation, were both ranked much more liveable than Portland, Ore., the home of free¬†light rail and urban growth boundaries.
This survey is ultimately proven a farce, however, by EIU‚Äôs conclusion that Los Angeles (#44) is more liveable than both London (#53) and New York City (#56).¬† Such a claim is ridiculous; if you want proof, try to get across town during rush hour without a car.
Most of EIU‚Äôs survey consists of rather nebulous comparative statistics ‚Äď such as ‚Äúfood and drink‚ÄĚ within the Culture and Environment category, or ‚Äúavailability of good quality housing‚ÄĚ within the Infrastructure category ‚Äď which may explain some of the oddities in the survey‚Äôs conclusions.¬† At the end of the day, these kinds of surveys are generally meaningless ‚Äď again, do we really need research to tell us Washington DC is more liveable than Karachi, Pakistan?
Either way, this year‚Äôs EIU liveability survey seems especially warped.