For the sixth year in a row, Melbourne in 2016 ranked as the most liveable city in the world by The Economist. Melbourne beat out 140 cities including as Vienna, Vancouver and Toronto as well as other Australian cities such as Adelaide and Sydney who came in 5th and 11th place respectively, to be crowned the most liveable city. The Economist ranks cities using a number of varying categories such as healthcare, the stability and current situation of the country including security, the culture, the environment, education provided and the infrastructure available in the city including accessibility to public transport and roads.

Following the announcement that Melbourne had once again been ranked as the most liveable city in the world, many expressed surprise at the awarding Melbourne the title including Melbourne Lord Mayor Roberat Doyle who said that they had not taken the title for granted or as a given. The liveability of a city is measured using a score out of 100 for the various categories. Out of a maximum score of 100, Melbourne attained an average of 97.5 with scores of 95 on stability, 100 on healthcare, 95.1 on culture and environment, 100 on education and 100 on infrastructure.

The question remains how did Melbourne retain the title for the sixth year. One of the biggest reasons was global instability. Global instability including terrorism and security issues had seriously affected the scores of a number of cities. Terrorist attacks and wars in France, Belgium, Australia and Syria as well as across Asian countries have reduced the scores of these countries. For example, the primary reason for the drop of Sydney out of the top 10 was continued instability and terrorist threats. Continued unrest in the Arab World as the involvement of many foreign powers have also affected the rankings of these cities. Tensions between countries such as the US and Russia have also had an impact. In addition, US cities have suffered from continued civil unrest in following the high profile shootings of a number of African-Americans by law enforcement and the divisive US election which resulted in ambiguity and a lack of clarity on future US positions as well as fears of the impact of future US decisions.

Melbourne has also benefited from a number of positive findings. Melbourne has been found to be the fastest growing Australian city in terms of population while Melbourne and Victoria are regarded as having one of the strongest economies in the country with among the most jobs created in 2016 and having an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent, which is better than Sydney and Perth. Melbourne has also witnessed a rapid increase in the construction industry with many infrastructure projects being planned or executed such as the expansion of the Melbourne railway. There has also been a rapid increase in the number of tourists. Melbourne is also praised for it’s nightlife, CBD, tourist attractions, sports, restaurants and cafes.

However Melbourne’s crown is far from guaranteed to last. Melbourne and fourth placed Toronto are currently separated by only 0.3 with Toronto attaining a rating of 97.2. Melbourne is separated by 0.1 from second placed Vienna. Whether Melbourne will retain it’s crown is yet to be known. But what is for sure is that Melbourne is in for a difficult race next year.

By Abdalrahman Shehada
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