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Livable cities indicator: economist
February 21, 2011, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Cities | Tags: , ,

Here are some general observations on the indicators the Economist has made to rank world cities for livability.

Stability includes crime and war, however, stable government is not given as a desirable indicator for good living:  an enormous oversight.  Stability is defined in negative terms; government and social services and education are preventive contributors to stability, which are either missing or ranked too low (education is weighted at only 10%.)

Another seemingly large oversight is business.  The ease and cost of doing business, and access to jobs, is an important livability indicator.  Part of this should be the relative sizes of business – ie. corporations that are too large destroy the ability of other business to flourish thereby impairing livability.

And finally, a third oversight is food quality and availability.

The term ‘availability’ needs to be defined and needs to include affordability.  Livability cuts across all classes.  Additionally indicators that are ranked for quality should also be ranked for availability and affordability, particularly the indicators in the infrastructure category.

I find it hard to believe that two Canadian cities – including one on the west coast ranked as high as they did.  I lived in two of the top cities on the Economist’s list: Vancouver and Toronto and don’t find that they are easy cities to be in unless you have car.  So, it would make sense to weight the indicators away from car based development and toward pedestrian based development if the intent is true livability.

Energy is another consideration for livability indicators.  It’s easy to be a pig and be happy.  But people who consume less energy per capita and still make for themselves wonderful places to live should rank higher.  This new indicator would knock off all North American and Australian cities.

Here are the Economist magazine’s indicators:

Category 1: Stability (weight: 25% of total)

Prevalence of petty crime

Prevalence of violent crime

Threat of terror

Threat of military conflict

Threat of civil unrest/conflict

Category 2: Healthcare (weight: 20% of total)

Availability of private healthcare

Quality of private healthcare

Availability of public healthcare

Quality of public healthcare

Availability of over-the-counter drugs

General healthcare indicators

Category 3: Culture & Environment (weight: 25% of total)

Humidity/temperature rating

Discomfort of climate to travellers

Level of corruption

Social or religious restrictions

Level of censorship

Sporting availability

Cultural availability

Food and drink

Consumer goods and services

Category 4: Education (weight: 10% of total)

Availability of private education

Quality of private education

Public education indicators

Category 5: Infrastructure (weight: 20% of total)

Quality of road network

Quality of public transport

Quality of international links

Availability of good quality housing

Quality of energy provision

Quality of water provision

Quality of telecommunications

A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview, February 2011, Economist Intelligence Unit

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