Most livable cities in Europe and the world: hints for city’s strategists

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The Global Livability Index is an annual report made by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The latest 2022-Index has revealed top ten cities in the world; curiously enough, five best cities to live in are in Europe… 

For the third time in the past five years, Vienna occupies first rank among top ten cities in the world, dominated by western European cities, which make up half of the global ten. Thus, Copenhagen follows Vienna in second place, Zurich is taking third place, Geneva is on the sixth, followed by Frankfurt on the seventh and Amsterdam has secured the ninth number in the list.

The assessment process
The ranking assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. This is worked out for every city by assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. Over 170 cities have been chosen for the survey, i.e. cities or business centers that people might want to visit or live in.
The pandemic has largely cast a long shadow over the EIU’s global livability rankings for the last two years, with lockdowns and social distancing measures affecting all the report’s indicators.
The ranking’s list examines a number of metrics on a city-wide basis, including infrastructure, affordable health care, rates of crime, education systems, political and social stability, culture, cities’ environmental quality, etc. Every city is assigned a rating for relative comfort for over 30 factors across five general categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
The cities that increased their ratings during 2009-14 included: Budapest in Hungary, Prague in Czech Republic, Bratislava in Slovakia, but decreased in London, Sofia and Athens…
The EIU’s report notices that “global business cities”, e.g. Paris, Tokyo, London, and New York ranked 17, 19, 55, and 56 respectively fare worse than mid-sized cities. Although wages are high and recreational activities in abundance, the crime rates are high, the streets are congested with public transport problems.
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For the conclusion…
The EIU survey does not give a full understanding of what it is like to live in any of the cities under review: to benefit from such surveys the readers must take them with some reservations: generally, such kind of surveys and ranking give just a “global comparison of cities that are hinged on a specific number of categories” by creating a tangible and quantifiable method for “measuring their livability”.
However, these categories cannot fully exemplify any urban socio-economic fabric, cities’ environment and quality of life… It is evident, notices the survey, that public attention of city rankings is mainly concentrated on the ranks themselves while neglecting its meaning as an “instrument for strategic planning”.
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