Vancouver most livable city in Canada

Vienna tops quality of living index but Calgary is tops on new eco-city list
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/01/2010

Vancouver is Canada's most livable city and Calgary, despite being the centre of the oil patch, is ranked as the world's top eco-city, according to consulting firm Mercer.

Vancouver is tied for fourth with Aukland, New Zealand, on Mercer's 2010 Quality of Living Survey. Vienna, Austria, tops the list, followed by Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland.

Other Canadian cities on the list include Ottawa at number 14, Toronto at number 16, Montreal at number 21 and Calgary at number 28.

The index covers 221 cities, with Baghdad coming in last.

Mercer evaluates living conditions in 420 cities according to 39 factors in 10 categories:

• political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)

• economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc.)

• socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc.)

• health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.)

• schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc.)

• public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc.)

• recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc.)

• consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.)

• housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc.)

• natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

The ranking helps governments and multi-national companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

“As the world economy becomes more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial centres are emerging as attractive places in which to expand or establish a business. Cities in many emerging markets, such as in the Middle East or Asia, have seen a significant influx of foreign companies and their expatriate employees in recent years," said Slagin Parakatil, a senior researcher at Mercer.

“To ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in their benefits package, companies seek a clear picture of the quality of living in these cities. We have reviewed our index to reflect these developments and it now better represents the cities that most interest our clients.”

European cities dominate the top 25 cities in the index. In the United Kingdom, London ranks at 39, while Birmingham is at 55 and Glasgow at 57. In the United States, the highest ranking entry is Honolulu at 31, followed by San Francisco at 32. Singapore, at 28, is the top-scoring Asian city followed by Tokyo at 40.

“Quality of living standards remained relatively stable on a global level throughout 2009 and the first half of 2010, but in certain regions and countries the economic recession had a noticeable impact on the business climate,” said Parakatil.

“Despite the economic downturn and companies’ efforts to contain costs, quality of living and hardship premiums remain important means of compensating expatriates for differences in living conditions. However, companies are more inclined to review the measurement of such allowances to ensure they are cost-effective."

This year’s ranking also identifies the cities with the best eco-ranking based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion.

Calgary is at the top of this index, followed by Honolulu while Ottawa and Helsinki, Finland, are tied for third. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, comes in last.

“A high-ranking eco-city optimizes its use of renewable energy sources and generates the lowest possible quantity of pollution. A city’s eco-status or attitude toward sustainability can have significant impact on the quality of living of its inhabitants. As a consequence these are also pertinent issues for companies that send employees and their families on long-term assignments abroad, especially considering the vast majority of expatriates are relocated to urban areas," said Parakatil.

Top 50 cities: Quality of living ranking

1

Vienna

Austria

2

Zurich

Switzerland

3

Geneva

Switzerland

4

Vancouver

Canada

4

Auckland

New Zealand

6

Dusseldorf

Germany

7

Frankfurt

Germany

7

Munich

Germany

9

Bern

Switzerland

10

Sydney

Australia

11

Copenhagen

Denmark

12

Wellington

New Zealand

13

Amsterdam

Netherlands

14

Ottawa

Canada

15

Brussels

Belgium

16

Toronto

Canada

17

Berlin

Germany

18

Melbourne

Australia

19

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

20

Stockholm

Sweden

21

Perth

Australia

21

Montreal

Canada

23

Hamburg

Germany

24

Nurnburg

Germany

24

Oslo

Norway

26

Canberra

Australia

26

Dublin

Ireland

28

Calgary

Canada

28

Singapore

Singapore

30

Stuttgart

Germany

31

Honolulu

United States

32

Adelaide

Australia

32

San Francisco

United States

34

Paris

France

35

Helsinki

Finland

36

Brisbane

Australia

37

Boston

United States

38

Lyon

France

39

London

United Kingdom

40

Tokyo

Japan

41

Milan

Italy

41

Kobe

Japan

41

Yokohama

Japan

44

Barcelona

Spain

45

Lisbon

Portugal

45

Chicago

United States

45

Washington

United States

48

Madrid

Spain

49

New York City

United States

50

Seattle

United States

Top 50 cities: Eco-City ranking

1

Calgary

Canada

2

Honolulu

United States

3

Ottawa

Canada

3

Helsinki

Finland

5

Wellington

New Zealand

6

Minneapolis

United States

7

Adelaide

Australia

8

Copenhagen

Denmark

9

Kobe

Japan

9

Oslo

Norway

9

Stockholm

Sweden

12

Perth

Australia

13

Montreal

Canada

13

Vancouver

Canada

13

Nurnberg

Germany

13

Auckland

New Zealand

13

Bern

Switzerland

13

Pittsburgh

United States

19

Zurich

Switzerland

19

Aberdeen

United Kingdom

21

Canberra

Australia

22

Singapore

Singapore

23

Brisbane

Australia

23

Washington

United States

25

Melbourne

Australia

25

Geneva

Switzerland

25

Boston

United States

28

Dusseldorf

Germany

28

Munich

Germany

30

Cape Town

South Africa

30

Belfast

United Kingdom

32

Lyon

France

33

Dublin

Ireland

34

Hamburg

Germany

34

Stuttgart

Germany

34

Philadelphia

United States

37

Yokohama

Japan

38

Victoria

Seychelles

39

Toronto

Canada

39

Amsterdam

Netherlands

41

Brussels

Belgium

41

Leipzig

Germany

43

St. Louis

United States

44

Vienna

Austria

44

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

46

Sydney

Australia

47

Glasgow

United Kingdom

48

Muscat

Oman

49

Point-A-Pitre

Guadeloupe

50

Nagoya

Japan

50

Osaka

Japan

50

Frankfurt

Germany

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