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Vancouver Still In, US Cities Out

A new survey excludes US cities in its list.

What about New York? Or Chicago perhaps? These were the questions that got into the minds of readers when they came across the Economic Intelligence Unit’s latest survey on the Most Livable Cities in the World. Vancouver, Canada topped the list with a whopping score of 98 percent based on various categories such as stability, health care, culture and environment, education, infrastructure with 25 other factors.

The official press release states, “Vancouver (Canada) still sits atop the global ranking, with the city offering an excellent infrastructure and low crime levels ahead of playing host to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Despite controversy surrounding the growing number of homeless people in Vancouver, particularly proposals to force people into shelters during the Olympics, general livability levels are high. Visitors will benefit from good transport links and broad cultural and recreational availability, notably the Olympics themselves although, as with any large event in any large city, there is still some prevalence of petty crime.”

Here’s a good video of Canada’s pride:

Trailing behind in descending order are four Australian cities, two more Canadian spots and one each for Austria, Finland and New Zealand: Vienna, Melbourne, Toronto, Calgary, Helsinki, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland. All these cities scored higher than 95 percent which means in EUI’s description, “There are few, if any, challenges to living standards.”

One thing that readers have to take note is that the rankings don’t speak much about differences. That is, Auckland isn’t much different from Vienna considering that almost two percentage points have separated them.

U.S. Cities are found at the middle of the pack with New York ranking 56th. Los Angeles fared better at 47th. Okay, since the survey was started a few years back, nothing has changed significantly for U.S. cities. EUI explains, “The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses, from benchmarking perceptions of development levels to assigning a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages.” There’s no wonder why no U.S. city made it to top 10.

Most of the top 10 are clearly way much better than U.S. cities (compare Sydney to the Big Apple in case you don’t agree yet). Though this is certainly a big boost to Vancouver during the Winter Games, it doesn’t mean that the city has nothing that critics can attack against. First, its restaurants are priced just like NYC and this isn’t certainly appealing to the appetite unlike Pittsburgh, for example. Second, homelessness is still a pressing issue until the Olympics when the government had to relocate them during the entire games. In regard to this, housing costs are highly unaffordable for the average income earner. Many have already turned their backs on settling here unless they’re incomes match the cost of living.

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