Where is the most “liveable city” in the world? – 2012

For sure, I’m flattered! But still, to have Hong Kong in the top of the list, raised my eyebrows.

Full article can be read here: http://www.economist.com.hk/blogs/gulliver/2012/07/city-rankings?page=1

Hong Kong is the “best city” in the world, according to the winning entry in a competition devised by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and BuzzData, a data-sharing company. Competitors were asked to combine data from the EIU’s liveability ranking with data from other sources to create a new ranking. Filippo Lovato, an architect concerned with urban planning, did this to winning effect with his “Spatially Adjusted Liveability Index”. This added seven new indicators on “spatial adjustments” to the EIU’s ranking. Mr Lovato assessed cities’ green space, sprawl, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation and pollution on a scale of 1 to 5, and then gave the resultant combined score 25% of the weight of his new index. The remaining 75% derives from the five categories that make up the EIU’s ranking: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Mr Lovato only examined 70 cities, rather than the 140 in the EIU’s full ranking—he does have a day job after all—and in his efforts to choose the biggest and most geographically diverse places, he excluded the likes of Melbourne, Vancouver and Vienna, which occupy the top three slots in the main EIU table. Hong Kong, which comes 10th in the shortened, 70-strong liveability ranking, tops Mr Lovato’s index thanks to particularly good scores for green space, (lack of) sprawl, natural assets and (lack of) isolation. Amsterdam comes second, six places higher than in the EIU table, thanks to good scores for connectivity (how easy is it to get to the rest of the world) and natural assets.

Mr Lovato’s methodology can be seen here. For example, he uses proximity of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a proxy for cultural assets. And he has decided that isolation is a bad thing for a city on the grounds that it “negatively affects leisure opportunities and the possibilities of discovering different ways of life”. So Shanghai scores the best possible “isolation” score and Stockholm the worst. I suspect these ideas won’t meet with universal approval, though Hong Kongers may be more approving than most.

Spatially Adjusted Liveability Index, top 10:
1. Hong Kong 87.8,
2. Amsterdam 87.4,
3. Osaka 87.4,
4. Paris 87.1,
5. Sydney 86.0,
6. Stockholm 86.0,
7. Berlin 85.9,
8. Toronto 85.4,
9. Munich 85.1,
10. Tokyo 84.3

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