Home People & Planet Liveability improves in Asia-Pacific, but more could be done

Liveability improves in Asia-Pacific, but more could be done

Fostering peace and stability is imperative for ensuring high liveability quotient among cities

What makes a city liveable? There is no right or single answer to this, and a city’s liveability may be defined differently from person to person. For some, a liveable city would be distinguished by pleasant weather, less pollution and more greenery; for others, it would be the range of services or facilities that a city can provide. And for most people moving into larger cities, it would be the varied job opportunities that a bustling urban center can provide.

Urban areas often receive a large influx of people moving away from their rural homes to make a better living for themselves. Cities should be able to accommodate their residents with better living conditions, job security and future growth opportunities.

The latest findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index 2023 show a significant increase in the liveability index in all regions of the world, particularly the improvement in the scores of healthcare and education segments. This increase has been the highest in 15 years.

Exhibit 1: Liveability improves in every region

The most liveable and non-liveable cities

The city of Vienna in Austria continued to retain its top position in the index, due to a winning combination of stability, good culture and entertainment, reliable infrastructure, and exemplary education and health services.

Exhibit 2: Top 10 positions in the index

Where there are winners, there also are losers. The list of bottom 10 cities in the index are dominated by the overall African region, and some countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan from the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the entry of Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, which has been devastated by the impacts of war.

Exhibit 3: Bottom 10 positions

Biggest movers up the index

The list of biggest movers up the rankings is dotted by countries mostly from the region of Asia-Pacific. The city of Wellington (New Zealand) has jumped from the 35th position to the 23rd in this year’s index. Meanwhile, the second biggest climber is Auckland, moving from last year’s 25th position to the 10th this year. In all, eight of the top ten climbers in this year’s index are from the Asia-Pacific region.

Exhibit 4: Biggest movers up the ranking from 2022 to 2023

Peace and stability must be preserved

Stability and peace has become a necessity to ensure cities of the world become more liveable in the future. This year’s index depicts a clear decline in the stability scores due to increased civil unrest across the world. France has been engulfed in sporadic civil unrest, while countries from Israel and South Africa to Bangladesh and Peru have witnessed waves of protests fuelled by rising petrol and food prices or allegations of government corruption.

Global leaders will need to take account of this growing crisis. It is imperative now if urban areas are to experience a robust and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and ongoing geopolitical unrest. Cities are key to the growth of an economy. Ensuring their stability not only promises better living conditions for their people; it may also position them better for socio-economic gains and improved prospects in the long term.

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