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Manchester more liveable than London

Words: Laura Edgar

Manchester has climbed three places on last year following declines in liveability elsewhere, taking it above London, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking.

Manchester now sits 43rd, with London remaining unchanged from last year at 53.

Melbourne has held on to top spot in the Global Liveability Ranking, which provides scores for lifestyle challenges in 140 worldwide. However, it suggests that overall liveability has deteriorated in 29 of the 140 cities surveyed over the past 12 months.

The decline, says the Economist Intelligence Unit, is largely a result of heightened fears over terrorism with more than 1,000 reported attacks in 2016 so far, with incidents in France, Turkey, Belgium and the US.

Social unrest in many US cities owing to the deaths of black people in custody, tensions in Eastern Europe and Asia and ongoing civil wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya have compounded the decline. In addition, the ranking suggests that even Australia, which is home to many of the world’s most liveable cities, has not been immune to what has been going on, with a hostage incident in Sydney in 2014 raising the concerns about the threat of terror, pushing the city outside of the top 10.

Six cities have increased their liveability ranking, with Tehran benefiting from the thawing of international relations, moving up four places in the rankings and out of the bottom tier of liveability.

Neither Manchester’s nor London’s liveability scores changed, but Manchester climbed the rankings as other European cities fell in the rankings.

Despite the 10-place difference, both cities sit within the top tier of liveability, with 1.6 per cent separating London’s score of 87.2 from Manchester’s of 88.8, where 100 is ideal.

London’s lower score is the result of a higher perceived threat of terrorism and petty crime, even though it has more cultural attractions and a “more robust infrastructure” compared with Manchester.

Jon Copestake, report editor, said it is “difficult” to argue that one city is better than another, but it can be argued that Manchester has “marginally fewer” obstacles to people’s lifestyle because the threat of terrorism and petty crime is higher in London.

“However, it will be interesting to see if this changes following the recent Brexit vote, which has created a sense of political and economic uncertainty and could see foreign investment suffer in both cities.”

The top 10 liveable cities are Melbourne, Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland, Helsinki and Hamburg.

The 10 least liveable cities are Kiev, Douala, Harare, Karachi, Algiers, Port Moresby, Dhaka, Lagos, Tripoli and Damascus.

More information about the report can be found here.