Damascus remains the world’s least liveable city and most of the previous ten least liveable cities remain in the bottom ten this year, including Dhaka and Karachi in the Asia-Pacific region, as per the 2021 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) Global Liveability Ranking.
However, overall, the COVID-19 pandemic caused liveability to decline – as cities experienced lockdowns and significant strains on their healthcare system. This led to an unprecedented level of change in the rankings, with many of the cities that were previously ranked as the most liveable tumbling.
With an average score of 68.6, cities in the Asia-Pacific region scored below the average of 73.09 recorded before the pandemic began.
The 2021 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) Global Liveability Ranking finds that Auckland is the most liveable city in the world.
There is a strong contingent of cities in the APAC region at the top of the rankings, with Osaka, Adelaide, Tokyo and Wellington rounding out the top five.
Auckland rose to the top of the ranking owing to its successful approach in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed schools, theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions to remain open and the city to score strongly on a number of metrics including education, culture and environment.
Similarly, Wellington, the New Zealand capital, has also gained from this relative freedom, rising to joint fourth place in this year’s ranking. Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo (capital) ranked second and fourth, respectively, owing to continued high stability scores.
The biggest gainer in this year’s index is Honolulu. The city rose 46 places to fourteenth after its strong progress in containing the pandemic and rolling out its vaccination programme
European and Canadian countries fared particularly poorly in this year’s edition. Vienna, previously the world’s most liveable city, fell to the 12th position. The biggest mover down the ranking globally was Hamburg, which fell 34 places to 47th.
Upasana Dutt, Head of Global Liveability at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability. Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard”.
“The cities that have risen to the top of the rankings this year are largely the ones that have taken stringent measures to contain the pandemic. The tough lockdown and tight border controls imposed by Asia-Pacific countries such as New Zealand and Australia allowed their societies to re-open earlier and enabled residents to enjoy a lifestyle that looked similar to pre-pandemic life.”
“Apart from cities in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, other cities in the Asia-Pacific region such as Taipei (33rd) and Singapore (34th) have also performed well.”
“One area where there has been regrettably little change is at the bottom of our rankings. Damascus remains the world’s least liveable city, as the effects of the civil war in Syria continue to take their toll. Indeed, most of the previous ten least liveable cities remain in the bottom ten this year, including Dhaka and Karachi in the Asia-Pacific region.”