Monday, May 31, 2010

Top cities all have view of the Alps

RANKINGS. At an interesting seminar on urban planning last week I learned that all ranking lists of cities and their ”liveability” are pointless, since they are based on such crude measurements.
True, of course. It’s like trying to decide what painting is most beautiful or what food tastes best.
At the same event a person told me that “you’re a journalist, so you must love these ranking lists”.
Also true.
So, here comes another one. London-based Mercer, an international consulting company, has published its 2010 Quality of Living Survey. Here are their top five cities in the world:
1) Vienna, Austria
2) Zürich, Switzerland
3) Geneva, Switzerland
4) Vancouver, Canada
5) Auckland, New Zealand
You could think that one criterion was “must be near the Alps or equivalent” (Munich comes in 7th and Bern, Switzerland, 10th).
Mercer’s survey is intended to help companies to fairly compensate employees depending on where they are based. The rankings take into account 39 factors, grouped into the following ten categories: political stability, economic environment, social freedoms, health and sanitation, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreational activities, availability of goods, housing, natural environment.
The four Nordic capitals in my ongoing study of their status as cities with a high standard of living finish a bit further down than on other lists; Copenhagen is 11th, Stockholm 20th, Oslo 24th and Helsinki 35th.
Baghdad finishes last among the 221 cities in the survey.