Vienna, capital of Austria and land of the imperial Habsburg dynasty with a storied musical and artistic tradition, as well as a modern coffee-house culture, has for the second-year running been named as the most liveable city in the world.
According to an annual index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of The Economist, which ranks 140 cities on 30 factors bunched into five categories — stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure — Vienna scored a near-perfect 99.1 out of 100, placing it just ahead of Melbourne in second spot. Sydney, Osaka and Calgary in Canada rounded up the top-five. Higher crime rates and ropey infrastructure pulled some bigger cities like London, New York and Paris down the league table, despite their cultural and culinary attractions.
Overall, scores have gone up since last year. In all, 27 cities have become more liveable by the EIU’s reckoning, whereas 15 saw their scores fall. The biggest improvement came in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, which rose 20 places to 69th — but that owed much to investments in health care and infrastructure after the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Sydney, the only climber in the top ten, went up by two places thanks to an improvement in its environment score. The Australian city is working to combat the impacts of climate change, outlined in its ‘Sustainable Sydney 2030’ strategy. By contrast, worsening air pollution caused New Delhi to drop six places to 118th and Cairo to fall two places to 125th.