31 August 2012

The Top 3 'Most Liveable' Cities

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its table of the liveability rankings of cities across the world. Some noteworthy changes to 2012’s copy include; the drop of London 9 places to 51st, due to the riots that plagued the city last August and the ongoing clean-up since then, and the placement of Vancouver in third.

The latter came with a disappointed outcry from Canadians, as Vancouver had been ranked the best city to live for almost a decade, until the EIU dropped it two places in 2011. The EIU claimed the drop was due to increasing amounts of congestion throughout the city and surrounding areas.

But for 2012, the top the 3 cities to live in the world were:

1. Melbourne, Australia

Officially the most liveable city two years in a row, Melbourne is a diverse and exciting place to live. It is known as the cultural capital of Australia, as well as being the capital of the state of Victoria. It boasts a huge music and art scene, which launched the Australian impressionist art movement (termed the Heidelberg School) and was the birthplace of the world’s first feature-film. It has been named a UNESCO City of Literature. The city is home to a multitude of theatres and venues such as the Victorian Arts Centre, and features more than 100 galleries, including Australia’s oldest and largest art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

The climate is warm and temperate for most of the year, those who travel from Europe should be aware of the season shift too (due to being on the southern hemisphere of the globe, Australian summers happen through December to February etc.)

Rated 100 out of 100 on the EIU Liveability report for Healthcare, Infrastructure and Climate, anyone planning to move abroad should definitely consider Melbourne as a destination, especially those with children entering the higher levels of education.

2. Vienna, Austria

Attracting around 5 million tourists a year, the gorgeous city of Vienna also plays host to many international businesses and organisations, including the UN and OPEC. In recent years the city of Vienna has seen a lot of expansion and urban development to house a growing population, often used as a case study by urban planners (and hosting many urban planning conferences) it was Vienna’s innovative take on urban redevelopment that caught peoples’ eye.

Known as the City of Music, the cultural history of Vienna is hugely ingrained in most of the tourist attractions. Composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms have all lived and worked in Vienna and Johan Strauss (I & II) were born within its districts.. Theatre and opera is also a huge part of its cultural heritage, with classical concerts played frequently in the cities many theatres, featuring music from Strauss and Mozart. Due to its placement in the centre of Europe, the city’s history is catalogued throughout its many museums and shows how the city has changed through the past World Wars, the Austro-Hungarian separation all the way back to the many Roman artefacts that reveal the true historic nature of the city. The ‘Historic Centre of Vienna’ was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

Viennese balls are of course a huge part of the nightlife, with almost 200 significant balls every year, with more private and smaller functions numbering even higher, and is a must for anyone living or visiting Vienna.

3. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is one of the most diverse cities in Canada, with over 50% of citizens for whom English is not their first language and with more than 2.3 million residents in the metropolitan area, it’s the third most populated area in the country.

Offering more than just an urban cityscape, Vancouver is known for its forests that surround the area. With evergreens across most of the area, it remains a stunning place throughout the year. As night descends however, you’ll see the true majesty of such a sprawling metropolis as the lights of Vancouver’s signature high-rises beginning to glow. The only city to rank at 100/100 on the top-ten list of the EIU’s Liveability rankings, Vancouver is a great city to explore and assimilate in.

The climate, as expected for such a northern city, is fairly cold on average year round. With averages of around 14 °C it can seem chilling but has been known to break into the 30s during the summer at the city’s hottest.

Libraries, museums and art galleries are all over in Vancouver, as one would expect from a high-ranked city, and each September the city plays host to the Vancouver International Film Festivals, showing over 350 films it’s one of the largest film festivals in North America.

The nightlife is also vibrant and there is always something happening. For those who don’t mind a bit of chill, Vancouver is a brilliant place to own a property.