Friday, June 12, 2009

World's most liveable cities: Vancouver No.1, Singapore No.54

Seelan: Please note that Singapore did not even make it in the top 20. This is especially for some of you out there who think that Singapore is the best place on Earth even though you've never even seen a quarter of the rest of the planet.

World's most liveable cities

Brisbane Times

Australian cities occupy five of the top 20 places in a British survey ranking the liveability of 140 of the world's major centres.

Melbourne ranked third in the world, behind Vancouver in Canada and the Austrian city of Vienna in the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2009 Liveability survey.

It assessed 140 cities based on stability, health care, education, infrastructure and culture and environment, giving each one a rating out of 100.

Perth was equal fifth with Calgary in Canada, with Sydney sharing ninth place with Zurich in Switzerland and Brisbane in 16th place.

As well as Vancouver and Calgary, Canadian cities also featured strongly in the top 20, with Toronto (4th) and Montreal (17th).

The New Zealand cities of Auckland and Wellington finished 12th and 23rd respectively.

US centres were well down the list. Pittsburgh ranked highest, in 29th place.

The highest-ranked Asian city was Osaka in Japan (13th). The next highest was Hong Kong (equal 39th with Madrid, Spain) followed by Singapore (54th) and Seoul, South Korea (58th).

The worst city to live on earth is Harare, the strife-torn capital of Zimbabwe.

"The performance of Asian cities reflects the diverse levels of development throughout the region," EIU spokesman Jon Copestake said.

"Australian cities represent many of the best aspects of liveability, while instability in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh means that cities in South Asia fare much worse."

The Economist Intelligence Unit is a branch of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist, a weekly news magazine, in London.


Kate said...

Hi there I'm just curious to know if you have lived overseas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seelan,

Having lived and worked in Toronto -- ranked fourth in the study to which you refer -- I would put Singapore ahead of it in terms of liveability.

This is no pro-PAP rant but my sense is that we as Singaporeans, have alot more going for us than we realise.


Seelan Palay said...

Dear Kate, I have not lived overseas (which I consider to be for a period of more than 3 years in one place), but I have had extended stays in other countries.

Dear Anonymous, I respect your opinion, but I don't think I share it. Perhaps we have different ideas and standards of what 'livability' is.

I have a close friend (who is not young at all), who moved to Toronto and stayed there for a number of past years. He holds a very different opinion from you and feels that was one of the best decisions he made in his life.

I have another friend (this time young) whose family moved out to Sydney years ago and still prefer it there. He just finished his NS and studies and is migrating there for good in a few days.

Anonymous said...

I visited my sis in Australia and came back home(Singapore). To be frank, life was really great there.. down here, things are just too controlled with no room for freedom of speech and actions. Getting fined for every single thing.. making the government super rich! so its no surprise s`pore been ranked 54th..

Anonymous said...

Dear Seelan,

Re: Toronto

Of course, I don't expect you to take my view as the gospel truth. (Just so I am in the clear, I lived in Toronto for three years, and I am currently into my second year outside of it).

Beyond those listed in the EIU survey, what goes into your criteria of "liveability"?

Anonymous said...

I live in Toronto.

If liveability means "pretty" then, yeah, Toronto is not a liveable city.

However, "pretty" is not one of the criteria used to rate the cities in this survey, and neither is it the sole criterion.

Toronto is a far more greatly liveable city that Suffocating Singapore is, all things considered, and despite some minor tradeoffs I've had to make. Everyone makes tradeoffs wherever they move, including when they move to Stinking Singapore.

Moving to Toronto is the best decision I've made in my life and I'm staying put after the long search for a true home.


Anonymous said...

Humidity in Singapore is bad enough to warrant unliveable, unless we change our dresscode to the Polynesians.

Thank God for air-conditioning though.

No place on earth is perfect. It is how one feels and prefers. The well traveled person would probably see benefits of living overseas. Still, a typical man on the street in the heartlands may still prefers Singapore, if not, Batam.

In Singapore, there are just too many people and too many types of people to deal with everyday.

From the results, we can correlate less people with liveability. I think we can also correlate humidity with liveability too.

SL said...

To add to your list, my son did his NS, now migrated to Melbourne, my daughter, no need to do NS, also migrated, to Sydney. Both feel that Singapore is not their home. My wife and I are joining them very soon.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver is simply great! I lived there for 2 years. The great weather, the seasons, the food, the freshness of the food, the cultural diversity, the civil rights of not just canadians but also foreigners like myself during my stay there.

ex-singie said...

I'm an ex-singaporean now living & working in beautiful Southern California since 1982 so I'm qualified to say that the grass is truly greener over here. I can be at the beautiful SoCal beaches in 5 mins, drive to the desert and mountains in a matter of hours. Drive or fly to visit the beautiful National Parks we have here or to glittery Las Vegas if I want to. And I live in LA! I would never ever moved back to Singapore to live after living in the USA all these years & will died here happily in my adopted homeland.

Valen Minbari said...

Like ex-singie, I'm in California. I would rate CA higher than both Toronto and Singapore personally. But before I start ranting, my criteria for liveable:

- Good weather, not too cold, not too hot. (Be able to enjoy a nice meal outdoors without sweating like a pig OR having to gulp down your cold beer before it gets warm OR having time to savor your ice-cream without it melting all over your hand)
- Be able to do "stuff" during weekends besides shopping and watching movies
- Still have access to Singaporean food
- Be able to get away from the crowd, the hustle and bustle without much effort (aka no need to fly, within 2 hours drive)

Personally, I think that work wise, there is really no difference between Singapore and US. Work is work. Actually, contrary to what is the general belief, work is more pro-family here in the US versus Singapore. No issues with working from home to look after your sick kid (without taking leave) or taking some time off to participate in your kid's "ECA" of soccer or baseball etc.

Outside of work, totally different story. Personally, I have picked up the following that I know I would not have done in a million years in Singapore: Skydiving nad
Riding a motorcycle as a sports

To each his own. Just like I'll never consider Toronto "liveable" due to its "unliveable" winters...

Hence, articles like these are not really useful for individuals but serve only as a guideline.

I'll say that at the end of the day, it depends on what you are looking for. Regardless, I'll recommend that you try it if given the opportunity, you never know if you would like a certain place more if you don't try.

On the other hand, if you have not tried living anywhere besides Singapore, not much point in ranting, is there?

laicite said...

Hi Seelan, I have been to Vancouver quite a few times, and I just came back from London, and I'd have to say that the one thing that distinguishes those world class cities from Singapore is their inclusiveness and cosmopolitan nature.

I've walked past evangelical churches and gay bars, huge corporations and socialist bookshops, orthrodox jews and hand holding gay men... and I've always felt more at home there than in Singapore. There's just so much more diversity and heterogeneity in cities like Vancouver, whereas in Singapore we're not only stifled in terms of personal liberty by our government, but also judged by the vocal conservatives if we happen not to conform to their approved norms.

Seelan Palay said...

Hi laicite, its good to know you and many others have had good experiences to share about living overseas, to contrast the Anonymous poster no.2 in this comments section.

Anonymous said...

"Hi laicite, its good to know you and many others have had good experiences to share about living overseas, to contrast the Anonymous poster no.2 in this comments section."

Dear Seelan,

You misunderstand me. Never in my post did I say that my experience in Toronto was bad or poor. (My wife, who is Canadian, would kill me if I said otherwise).

Of course, I have had good times and bad times in Toronto, just as I have had good and bad times in Singapore.

I only meant to say that in my opinion, I would rate Singapore higher than Toronto in terms of liveability.

To Valen Minbari: LOL, you are dead right. Winter in Southern Ontario is a piece of work.

Seelan Palay said...

Thank you for your clarification Anonymous. And its based on our varied personal criteria for what constitutes 'livability'.

Anonymous said...

Hey Seelan,

Singapore *did make it into the top 20.

Doesn't that make your day?


Seelan Palay said...

Haha, thank you for that Anonymous, but I think the Economist Intelligence Unit report carries more weight than 'Monocle'.

Just like how Reporters Without Borders' report carries more weight than the Straits Times.

But thank you for that anyway, have a good day :)

Anonymous said...

I had studied and stayed in Syd for 2 years.

I like almost everything in Syd especially its food and weather.

S'pore is just too small, too humid and it's getting too costly for middle class like myself to stay in S'pore and it's very much depending on external factors. It's also very stressful to work and study in S'pore.

Really can't imagine the little red dot to house 6.5m people in the future. Now with 4.8m people, everywhere is human and vehicular traffic!

The only thing good about S'pore is that it's relatively safe here. The only bad thing about S'pore is its first world party Govt.

I'll one day return to Syd, if not Perth or Melb for my retirement and my children education as I know Aust Govt will take good care of us though we are not white immigrants.

Sad to say that I don't see there's a future for me and my children in the first world S'pore.

If S'pore is really first world country, then why it's still at no.54?

Nyved said...

Hmm...Singapore's 54th in the world. But how many cities are there in the world? 55? 100? And what's the criteria for the rankings? What is it measuring? This is as cheap as journalists can go these days, just taking news from the web and making quick conclusions. As an intellectual i am surprised you haven't thought about this clearly enough before posting this article.

Please take this with a pinch of salt. No matter how you want to spin things here, Singapore is still quite liveable (low crime, ease of transport), WHICH is what the rankings are measuring. Try London, perhaps. You can see vast differences. At least my chances of being stabbed in the middle of the night are far less in Singapore than in places such as New York and London. Singapore doesn't rank high in the liberal democratic area BUT it's your duty to improve it, not putting the country down.

Anonymous said...

So long as you are a visitor to Vancouver it is a great place. Just don't try to live here. The city is completely overpriced. Local officials are inconsiderate and rude to locals. But if you are a tourist with cash you will be treated like royalty while your pockets are emptied.

Seelan Palay said...

Hi Nyved I did think through before posting this article, though perhaps I did not state my views and understandings along with it.

It is my duty to improve it, but that does not mean I cannot criticize it for what it has been made to become.

Seelan Palay said...

Hi last Anonymous, from a purely tourist perspective, Singapore offers the same as what you mentioned.