Region Forward Blog

What makes a city livable? Where are the megacities in livability rankings?

May 17, 2011

It’s been a busy day but we still wanted to get in a short post and share with you an article we read recently to get your reaction.

According to a quick comparison of some of the most often cited “most livable cities” indexes everyone should be clamoring to live in Switzerland Austria Canada Denmark or Australia. These countries are home to some of the cities that show up most frequently at the top of such lists. Zurich Vienna Vancouver Copenhagen Melbourne and the like are indeed gorgeous cities.

However as the Financial Times pointed out recently there is a dearth of megacities on these lists and their size seems to be one of the key factors holding them back as well as crime and congestion. We know that cities are more sustainable than sprawling suburbs so as population increases more people are going to need to call megacities (new and old) home. Is there a population point beyond which a city can’t come out tops in Livability?

Where is Paris (population: 12 million) where is New York (18 million) where is London (12 million) on these lists? Even Washington with over 5.5 million folks in the area is larger than any of the cities listed above. As the FT asks do mid-sized Scandinavian cities and the like have a lock on Livability?

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