In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest ranking of the most liveable cities in the world, New Zealand’s Auckland city has emerged at the top.
The EIU released The Global Liveability Index for 2021 on Thursday, with Auckland in New Zealand topping the list, followed by Osaka in Japan in second place, and Australia’s Adelaide in third place.
The survey ranked 140 cities based on factors such as stability, healthcare, education and infrastructure, but the coronavirus epidemic has played a significant role in the ranking.
The Austrian capital had led the list since 2018 and for years ran neck and neck with Melbourne at the top of the survey of 140 urban centres.
New Zealand’s elimination of COVID-19 within its borders through lockdown measures helped by its geographic isolation, however, gave its cities a big boost.
“New Zealand’s tough lockdown allowed their society to reopen and enabled citizens of cities like Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a lifestyle that looked similar to pre-pandemic life,” the EIU said in a statement.
The EIU generally does not make the full ranking public. The last time Auckland was in the top 10 was in 2017, when it came eighth, a position Melbourne shared with Geneva this year. Vienna fell to 12th.
Illustrating New Zealand’s advantage this year, Wellington also entered the top 10. It came fourth behind Osaka, which rose two spots to second place, and Adelaide, which leapfrogged its compatriots Sydney and Melbourne to third place from 10th.
The latest ranking is from 2019 as last year’s was cancelled. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability,” the EIU said.
“Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard.”
The European Union struggled to get its vaccination campaign off the ground and many member states including Austria imposed more lockdowns than they had hoped to, hurting their cities’ scores in the measure of “culture and environment”.—AP