The Top 10 Most Liveable Cities Have Been Announced and Somehow Melbourne Made the Cut

Although Melbourne has been in the Top 10 Liveable Cities since 2011, according to the Global Liveability Index, we didn’t think it possible that our city would rank in 2021… for obvious reasons… Needless to say, we’re pleasantly surprised to see this isn’t the case.

Although dropping down from its usual spot in the top two, Melbourne remains in the Top 10 Liveable Cities, sitting at number eight in the just-published Global Liveability Index for 2021.

When it came to setting the list, COVID-19 lockdowns played an integral part in what deems a city ‘liveable’ over the past year, which is why we’re surprised that Melbourne still gets a Top 10 ranking. Victorians have had a pretty tough year with lockdowns spanning throughout most of 2020 and some of 2021, the latest of which is set to end tonight. Compared to the other states of Australia, Victoria has struggled the most with COVID-19 restrictions.

Many other cities around the world have missed out on a good ranking in the Global Liveability Index due to COVID-19. Vienna, ranked the number one most liveable city by the Index between 2018 and 2020, has now fallen to 12th place.

Cities such as Germany’s Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf saw the largest falls, closely followed by Prague, Dublin, and Rome. Additionally, Bratislava and Athens were among the 10 cities with the largest decrease in livability.

Data for the index was gathered between February 22 and March 21, which was when Europe was experiencing a renewed rise in infections and a slow start to the vaccination rollout, which had a pretty harsh impact on their rankings.

As for the top and bottom 10, here’s what we’ve got:

Global Liveability Index 2021

Top 10 Most Liveable Cities

1. Auckland, New Zealand
2. Osaka, Japan
3. Adelaide, Australia
4. Wellington, New Zealand
5. Tokyo, Japan
6. Perth, Australia
7. Zurich, Switzerland
8. Geneva, Switzerland [tied] 9. Melbourne, Australia [tied] 10. Brisbane, Australia

Top 10 Least Liveable Cities

1) Damascus, Syria
2) Lagos, Nigeria
3) Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
4) Dhaka, Bangladesh
5) Algiers, Algeria
6) Tripoli, Libya
7) Karachi, Pakistan
8) Harare, Zimbabwe
9) Douala, Cameroon
10) Caracas, Venezuela

What defines ‘liveability’?

The ranking system takes a number of factors into account, including healthcare, culture, education, infrastructure, and stability. There are cities that have been ravaged by COVID-19 in a devastating way, and they have seen their ranking scores plummet, while those who implemented extreme restrictions early (like Melbourne), skipped the worst of it and have risen, or stayed at the top.

This seems like a good reminder that our lockdowns weren’t for nothing. Living in Victoria for the past year and a bit has been difficult, especially in complete isolation and lockdown, as there’s an overwhelming feeling of helplessness; there’s nothing we can do, not much we’re allowed to do, and things could change at any moment.

But then, when you think of the devastation that Europe saw last year, with Italy recording a massive 250 deaths within 24 hours and worse still, the current situation in India, it’s hard to feel too sorry for ourselves.

Auckland making top place is hardly a surprise, with Jacinta Ardern arguably handling her government in the best way we’ve literally ever seen, New Zealand was bound to be up there.

In Auckland’s case, the index notes that “owing to border closures and a consequently low COVID-19 case count, New Zealand has been able to keep its theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions open. Students have been able to continue going to school, giving Auckland a 100% score for education.” For this reason, Auckland has risen to the top after ranking 6th last year.

Of the Australian cities that made the top ten list, Adelaide is our new leader. The capital of SA ranked in the top three, with Perth in sixth place and Brisbane sneaking in at 10th. Overall Australia, we’ve gotta say, it’s a pretty good effort.

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