U.S. Cities Fare Poorly in World Livability Ranking

In terms of global urban livability, American cities are not so hot. The highest ranking city, Honolulu, comes in at 29 in the results of the Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.
May 5, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The city with the highest quality of urban living in the world, according to the survey, is Vienna, followed by Zurich and Geneva. Auckland and Vancouver come joint fourth. All of these cities have a reputation – perhaps undeserved – for crashing dullness. Cities with romantic, glitzy reputations, from New York (49th) to Rome (55th), fare badly."

"The Worldwide Quality of Living Survey is, arguably, more suburban than urban. The league table of 215 cities reflects the criteria set by Mercer, an American management consultancy which specialises in advising companies on the relocation of executives. Political stability, security, air pollution, schools, supermarkets, environment and transport rank highly. Cutting-edge culture, architecture and excitement count for relatively little."

"Unsurprisingly, the city that comes bottom of the table is Baghdad with a score of 14.4 (encouragingly up from 13.5 last year). The top city, Vienna, scores 108.6, overtaking Zurich, which has led the table for eight years. No American city comes in the top 25. The highest is Honolulu in Hawaii, scarcely a city at all, which ranks 29th."

"Of the top 10 most liveable cities in the Mercer table, seven are European; three are German (Dusseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt); three are Swiss (Zurich, Geneva, Berne) and one is Austrian (Vienna). Auckland and Vancouver tie for fourth place. Sydney comes 10th."

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Published on Monday, May 4, 2009 in The Independent
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