The Thick of It


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is London the best city in the world?

I sometimes think so, having spent virtually my whole life here. I love it here.

However, the overcrowding, cost of living and disparity of wealth mean that it doesn't offer the highest quality of life. For that one would have to look to Switzerland, with Zurich and Geneva topping the charts. Mercer have just published their latest survey, ranking world cities for overall quality of life against 39 different criteria. London languishes in 39th place, six behind Paris, but nine ahead of New York. Baghdad comes bottom.

The measurement was against the following criteria:

Political: political stability, leadership, crime
Economic: currency, banking
Socio cultural: censorship, limits to personal freedom
Health and sanitation
Schools and education
Public services and transport: provision of services and congestion
Recreation: restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sport
Availability of consumer goods
Natural environment: climate, record of natural disasters

London rates only 63rd for health and sanitation, however, I don't think this survey takes into account that here one doesn't have to pay to see a doctor, but you do everywhere else. I like reading these surveys but I did note that the "fun" factor wasn't taken into account. Geneva is lovely but is it as fun to live there as it is in London, Paris or Chicago?

The top 50:

2007 Rank City
1 Zurich
2 Geneva
3 Vancouver
3 Vienna
5 Auckland
5 Düsseldorf
7 Frankfurt
8 Munich
9 Bern
9 Sydney
11 Copenhagen
12 Wellington
13 Amsterdam
14 Brussels
15 Toronto
16 Berlin
17 Melbourne
18 Luxembourg
18 Ottawa
20 Stockholm
21 Perth
22 Montreal
23 Nürnberg
24 Calgary
24 Hamburg
26 Oslo
27 Dublin
27 Honolulu
29 San Francisco
30 Adelaide
30 Helsinki
32 Brisbane
33 Paris
34 Singapore
35 Tokyo
36 Lyon
36 Boston
38 Yokohama
39 London
40 Kobe
41 Barcelona
42 Madrid
42 Osaka
44 Washington DC
44 Chicago
46 Portland
47 Lisbon
48 New York City
49 Milan
49 Seattle

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