Melbourne has been toppled from the top spot as the world’s most liveable city – in spite of perfect scores for infrastructure, education and healthcare.
Vienna narrowly relegated Melbourne to the number two position in this year’s Global Liveability Index, recently published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), to claim the title as the world’s most liveable city. The report overview stated that both Vienna and Melbourne had improved their liveability in the past year, Vienna’s higher stability rating allowed it to claim the top spot.
“The two cities are now separated by 0.7 of a percentage point, with Vienna scoring a near-ideal 99.1 out of 100 and Melbourne scoring 98.4,” the report said.
Melbourne had previously held the title of the world’s most liveable city for a record seven years.
“Victim of its own success”
Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp told the Australian that Melbourne had been a “victim of its own success”, as growth had made it more difficult to meet liveability criteria.
“You have to remember Vienna has a population of about 1.8 million and our population is now 4.6 million,” Capp said.
She added that major cities such as London (48th) tended to be lower down in the liveability index.
“There are definitely challenges recognised within the index that makes it very hard for cities as they become bigger to be competitive in this particular criteria,” Capp said.
Capp also stated that Melbourne could “do better” in terms of its safety rating.
The EIU analysis agreed, stating the “big city buzz” of global business centres such as New York (57th) and Paris (19th) tends to put a burden on infrastructure and raise crime rates.
Perfect infrastructure scores
Increased spending on infrastructure has been reflected in Melbourne’s perfect score of 100 per cent for the category, and projects such as the North East Link will see growth in this area for years to come. Strong investment in infrastructure also played a role in the scores for the other two Australian cities in the top 10 of the 2018 liveability index: Sydney (5th) and Adelaide (10th).
Infrastructure makes up 20 per cent of a city’s total score, and is judged on the quality of roads, public transport, international links, housing, energy, water and telecommunications.
Sydney has climbed six spots this year; last year it was in 11th place due to fear of terrorist attacks. Adelaide has fallen from 5th place – which it had held for six years – to 10th place. Perth has also dropped further down the list, from 7th to 14th. However, the report stated that the overall liveability scores for Perth and Adelaide have not decreased. Instead, other cities’ scores have risen in comparison.