We speak to residents in five of the highest-ranked cities to get
Many world cities are experiencing a rise in quality of life following a pandemic slump. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Global Liveability Index, which rates 173 cities on factors such as stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education, and infrastructure, overall liveability has reached a 15-year high.
Healthcare and education gains have driven the growth across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, even as stability scores have fallen overall amid civil unrest, rising cost of living concerns, and conflict in cities like Kiev. As a result of the end of pandemic restrictions across the world, culture and environment scores have also improved.
It’s the people who live in a place day in and day out who can give the best insight into what it’s really like to live there. An index can provide data on what makes a place liveable. In order to understand why residents choose to live in some of the top 10 ranked cities, we spoke with them.
In 2021, pandemic closures affected museums and restaurants in the Austrian capital, resulting in the city losing the top spot briefly in the liveability index. Residents of Vienna say Vienna is more than the sum of its parts when it comes to stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
Manuela Filippou said, “You basically have a full life circle in one place,” which she runs with her eponymous chef husband and two Michelin-starred restaurants. Including preserved history, reliable public transportation, affordable childcare, and easy access to cafes, theaters, and even wineries within the city limits, Vienna can feel like an eternal staycation destination.
In some cases, when we work too much and don’t get to go anywhere in a long time, we don’t even notice it because our hunger for all of the above can be satisfied within the city’s borders,” Filippou said.
Richard Voss, sales & marketing manager at hotel Das Tigra, feels the city’s liveability is enhanced by its rich cultural history and activities. Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg, and Vienna City Hall are just some of the impressive historical buildings in Vienna, according to him. Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss have all lived and worked in the city, and residents can easily engage with these same cultural traditions through the city’s numerous museums, theatres, and opera houses.
Likewise, he recommends sampling traditional dishes like wiener schnitzel and sachertorte, as well as visiting the various markets, such as the Naschmarkt, for fresh food and local specialties.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that stressed the Australian healthcare system and resulted in long lockdowns, Melbourne and Sydney both regained their rankings in the top 10 (third and fourth, respectively). Among the country’s top cities for culture and environment, Melbourne had the highest score.
“Melbourne has an incredible food scene, cultural arts, events and attractions, and plays host to all the major international sports and events such as the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Australian Open,” said Jane Morrell, founder of Carer Solutions and disability advocate. The trams run throughout the CBD and suburbs, making it easy to jump on and off. Additionally, world-famous beaches and wine country are just a short drive away.
Blogger Kimmie Conner, originally from California, took some time to warm up to the city. With stunning views, coasts, and iconic buildings, places like Sydney are beautiful right away. Conner, who writes at Adventures & Sunsets and now chooses Melbourne over any other city, said Melbourne isn’t a city of landmarks, but a city of culture; and discovering that requires a bit more digging. Having some of the best coffee of your life in a tiny cafe down a colourful laneway is the key to discovering Melbourne’s pulse. Discover hidden cocktail bars – often hidden behind secret doors or wardrobes – and try the tasting menus at specialty restaurants around the city.