Vancouver is, as we well know, expensive and rainy, but it is eminently livable as a city (and, after awhile, the rainy-ness is tolerable, especially opposed to the cold!). It’s temperate, beautiful, and full of culture. These are all facts that place it on most, if not all, livability lists out there on the interwebs and beyond. That’s why the blogo- and Twitterspheres are alight today with the news that the Economist excluded Vancouver from its most livable cities list this year.
And, while that might seem shocking, it’s not our fault guys. So keep enjoying your bike lanes and sustainability and your recycling and your green spaces, because it’s the magazine’s fault. Whew!
I’m not just playing the blame game, here, either. The Economist has actually changed the way it ranks cities, adding in a crucial element that leaves Vancouver out of the running: population. A blog post on Canada.com explains:
The EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) held a competition in conjunction with BuzzData, a data-sharing company, to devise a new manner of ranking cities. The winner was Filippo Lovato, an architect who came up with the “Spatially Adjusted Livable City Index,” assessing factors such as a city’s “green space, sprawl, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation and pollution on a scale of 1 to 5, and then gave the resultant combined score 25% of the weight of his new index.”
The rest of the score was made up by the EIU’s existing categories: infrastructure, stability, health care, education, and culture and environment.
With this criteria narrowed so drastically, only 70 cities total made the criteria to be ranked in the first place. This means that the top 10 list looks very different than these lists usually look. It kind of makes sense, if you think about it—the larger a city, the harder it must be to keep all of the other criteria under control. The new top 10 is therefore a batch of cities that one doesn’t normally see on such lists. Relatively speaking, it must be easier to run a city like Vancouver well than, say, Hong Kong (the new #1). Still, it’s sad to us excluded. At least Melbourne—Vancouver’s usual contender in such races—was too.