Melbourne is the best city in the world to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Global Liveability Survey. It edged ahead of the Canadian city, Vancouver, which had topped the ranking for almost a decade.
Melbourne came top with a score of 97.5 per cent, enhancing its bragging rights over Sydney. Melbourne topped the ranking by virtue of a slight fall in Vancouver's infrastructure score.
Asian countries did not make it to the top 10 list. Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore were ranked 18, 31 and 51, respectively.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has given a suggested allowance to correspond with the rating.
Both Singapore and Hong Kong are above 80 points, which means no hardship allowance is recommended for executives assigned to these cities. But Beijing (76.9) and KL (74) are 5% allowance, Bangkok is 10% while New Delhi is 15%.
In contrast to the strong performance of Australian cities, elsewhere in the world the impact of austerity and unrest has been a prominent factor. For instance the Greek capital Athens has dropped five places due to recent austerity measures and civil unrest, to 67th place. Expatriates working in Athens could now qualify for a hardship allowance, the survey found.
Athens is now the only city in Western Europe with a score of below 80 per cent, putting it below emerging economy cities such as Montevideo in Uruguay.
The Arab Spring uprisings have also prompted a fall in liveability for affected cities in the Middle East. This was most pronounced in Tripoli in Libya, where the descent into civil war saw the city plummet from 107th place to 135th.
The liveability report surveys 140 locations around the world to assess the best or the worst living conditions. It originated as a means of testing whether Human Resource Departments needed to assign a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. It has since evolved as a broad benchmarking tool used by city councils, organisations or corporate entities looking to test locations against one another.
Cities are scored on political and social stability, crime rates and access to quality health care. It also measures the diversity and standard of cultural events and the natural environment; education (school and university); and the standard of infrastructure, including public transport.
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