Young cyclists take in the view of downtown Calgary from Patrick Island on the Bow River, Aug 19, 2015.
© J. Ashley Nixon
The 2018 survey of the world’s most liveable cities was published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this week. In their annual, widely-read ranking that helps indicate how sustainably cities are developing, Melbourne, Australia which has been at the top of the table for seven years, was pipped by Austria’s capital city, Vienna. Osaka, Japan came third.
Three of the top ten cities are in Canada. My hometown, Calgary came in fourth, ahead of Vancouver (6th) and Toronto (8th), making it the most liveable city in North America based on a range of factors, including political and social stability, crime, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and culture and environment.
The EIU describes its methodology as follows: Every city is 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. Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points. The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100, where 1is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal.”
Stability examines the prevalence of crime, the threat of terror/ military conflict or civil unrest.
Healthcare focuses on the availability/quality of private and public healthcare, over-the-counter drugs and other general healthcare indicators.
Culture and Environment measures various indicators that range from temperature rating, climate, level of corruption, social or religious restrictions, food/drink, and other social indicators.
Education looks at the availability/quality of private and public education.
Infrastructure assesses the quality of roads, public transportation, availability of housing, and other indicators.
The rankings are weighted with stability (25 percent), healthcare (20 percent), culture and environment (25 percent), education (10 percent) and infrastructure (20 percent).
As well as being in affluent countries, two other characteristics shared by many of the leading cities in the EIU survey are their relatively low population density (Vienna is an exception to this) and overall size (small to medium-, although Tokyo is an exception). These features “can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure” (EIU 2018). Smaller cities, compared to the big urban centres of the world, generally suffer less from crime, congestion and transportation deficiencies.
Calgary: most liveable city in North America
Calgary earned maximum points in four of the five categories, coming down (90/100) only in the Culture and Environment category to gain an overall score of 97.5 percent and the highest ranking of any North American city.
Calgary has grown significantly in recent years (the latest census released in July 2018 showed a year-on-year increase of 21,000 people to raise the city population to 1.27 million) as people from all around the world have been attracted to its economic prospects (especially around the energy industry), its beautiful location in the foothills of the Rockies, cultural diversity and great access to social and municipal services.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said “Calgary is an extraordinary place where people from around the world have come – and continue to come – to invest, to raise their families, and to build great lives. I’m very proud, and we all should be too!” (Calgary Economic Development, 2018).
Gallery of photographs
Please follow this link to my gallery of photographs celebrating Calgary’s achievement of the top North American city in the Economist Intelligence Unit 2018 Global Liveability Index.
EIU 2018 Summary report
You can download The Economist Intelligence Unit 2018 Global Liveability Index summary report here.