Top 7 Most Livable Cities in 2010

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Although the answer likely varies from person to person, there are several universal factors that make any spot a great place to live. To get a sense of the best places to call home, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) assembles annual rankings of 140 major cities worldwide based on which have the most ideal living conditions. The rankings are based on over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five categories: stability, health care, culture/environment, education and infrastructure. The EIU tasks analysts and in-city contributors to assess qualitative indicators, while using a relative gauge for quantitative factors. The EIU found that for most cities, livability has been unaffected by the recession, as most factors – such as infrastructure and crime levels – have not shifted.

Each city is given an overall livability rating that is weighted between 1-100, with 100 being ideal living conditions and 1 considered intolerable. Each individual category factors into the overall ranking on weighted basis.

So where are the Top 7 Most Livable Cities in the World? Continue reading to find out!

1. Vancouver, Canada

Overall Livability Rating: 98.0

Stability: 95

Health Care: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 96.4

Culture & Environment: 100

The largest metropolitan area in Western Canada, Vancouver ranks third largest in the country and the city proper ranks eighth. According to the 2006 census Vancouver had a population of 578,041 and its Census Metropolitan Area exceeded 2.1 million people. Its residents are ethnically and linguistically diverse; 52% do not speak English as their first language.

Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide “livable city” rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments. It has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1976 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements and the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 miles) north of the city.

2. Vienna, Austria

Overall Livability Rating: 97.9

Stability: 95

Health Care: 100

Education: 96.5

Infrastructure: 100

Culture & Environment: 100

Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million  (2.3 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria’s population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna is host to many major international organizations such as the United Nations and OPEC.

Vienna lies in the east of Austria and is close to Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 an Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked it first equal with Vancouver for the quality of life. This assessment was mirrored by the Mercer Survey in 2009. The city of Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world`s best quality of living.

3. Melbourne, Australia

Overall Livability Rating: 97.5

Stability: 95

Health Care: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

Culture & Environment: 95.1

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and also the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre (also known as the “Central Business District” or “CBD”) is the hub of the greater geographical area (or “metropolitan area”) and the Census statistical division—of which “Melbourne” is the common name. As of late 2009, the greater geographical area had an approximate population of 4 million. A resident of Melbourne is known as a “Melburnian”.

The metropolis is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city centre positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River (at the northern-most point of the bay). The metropolitan area then extends south from the city centre, along the eastern and western shorelines of Port Phillip, and expands into the hinterland. The city centre is situated in the municipality known as the City of Melbourne, and the metropolitan area consists of a further 30 municipalities.

Today, it is a centre for the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, sport and tourism. It is the birthplace of cultural institutions such as Australian film (as well as the feature film),[13][14] Australian television, Australian rules football, the Australian impressionist art movement (known as the Heidelberg School) and Australian dance styles (such as New Vogue and the Melbourne Shuffle). It is also a major centre for contemporary and traditional Australian music. It is often referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia”

4. Toronto, Canada

Overall Livability Rating: 97.2

Stability: 100

Health Care: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 89.3

Culture & Environment: 97.2

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe, which is home to over 8.1 million residents—approximately 25% of Canada’s population. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,113,149,  and the Greater Toronto Area had a population of 5,555,912 in the 2006 Census.

As Canada’s economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centres in the world. Toronto’s leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism and sports industries. The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world’s eighth largest in terms of market value, is headquartered in the city, along with most of Canada’s corporations.

5. Calgary, Canada

Overall Livability Rating: 96.6

Stability: 100

Health Care: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 96.4

Culture & Environment: 89.1

Calgary is the largest city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. The city is located in the Grassland region of Alberta.

In 2006, the City of Calgary had a population of 988,193 making it the third-largest municipality in the country and largest in Alberta. The entire metropolitan area had a 2006 population of 1,079,310, making it the fifth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada. In 2009, Calgary’s metropolitan population was estimated at 1,230,248, making it the fourth-largest CMA in Canada.

Calgary is well-known as a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of major mountain resorts near the city and metropolitan area. Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry. Agriculture, tourism and high-tech industries also contribute to the city’s economic growth. In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.

6. Helsinki, Finland

Overall Livability Rating: 96.2

Stability: 100

Health Care: 100

Education: 91.7

Infrastructure: 96.4

Culture & Environment: 91

Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the southern part of Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, by the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is 584,420 (31 March 2010), making it the most populous municipality in Finland by a wide margin. Helsinki is located some 400 kilometres (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, 300 kilometres (190 mi) west of St. Petersburg, Russia and 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia. Helsinki has close connections with these three cities.

The municipality of Helsinki forms the heart of the Helsinki metropolitan area and Greater Helsinki area. Over one million people live in the Helsinki metropolitan area, which includes the city of Helsinki and three other cities. Two of these cities, Espoo and Vantaa, immediately border Helsinki to the west and north. Kauniainen, the third city, is an enclave within the city of Espoo. The Helsinki metropolitan area is the northernmost urban area on Earth with a population of over 1 million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state. Altogether 1.3 million people live in the Greater Helsinki area, which includes the aforementioned cities and 9 suburban satellite towns. Approximately 1 in 4 Finns live in the Greater Helsinki area.

Helsinki is Finland’s major political, educational, financial, cultural and research center. Helsinki is also an important regional city on the Baltic Sea and northern Europe. Approximately 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region.

7. Sydney, Australia

Overall Livability Rating: 96.1

Stability: 90

Health Care: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

Culture & Environment: 94.4

Sydney is the largest city in Australia and Oceania, and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney has a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.5 million and an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres (4,633 sq mi). Its inhabitants are called Sydneysiders, and Sydney is often called “the Harbour City”. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants to Australia.

The city is home to many prominent parks, such as Hyde Park, Royal Botanical Gardens and national parks. This is a major factor, along with Sydney Harbour, that has led to the city’s reputation as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, cnbc.com, worldinterestingfacts.com

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