Just received the latest quality of living city ranking from Mercer, an HR agency which calls itself a leader in “benefit outsourcing” (please leave a comment if you know what that means).
Can’t argue with the bottom three cities in the ranking – Baghdad, Kinshasa and Karachi are the worst cities to live in. But I must take issue with the rest of the ranking. The top three cities (Zurich, Vienna, Geneva) are great places to retire, probably, but they are not what you would call dynamic or interesting cities, in my book. Look at the rest of the top 10: Vancouver, Auckland, Dusseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt, Bern, Sydney. Wow. With the exception of Vancouver and maybe Auckland and Sydney, the rest of those places look like they’ve been picked for their ability to make trains run on time. They’re basically really boring places to live in. How does that make their quality of life better?
On to Asian cities, which only make their appearance at 32, with Singapore’s entry. Singapore, apparently, has equal quality of life to Paris (also 32) and better than New York (48) and Tokyo (35). Again, a predilection for staidness seems to be the main criteria for a good ranking.
How does China figure? Hong Kong is at 70, Beijing 116 and Shanghai 98. Alright, broadly agree with those results.
Mercer says 39 determinants were used in their ranking, including political stability, crime, law enforcement, censorship, limitations on personal freedom, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure and more. Doesn’t say how they were weighted, though.
Finally, a disclaimer: I haven’t set foot in any of the three best cities to live in according to Mercer, so my claim that they are boring entirely stems from reputation. Again, feel free to disagree in the comments section.