Melbourne - The Most Livable City?
So unless you've been living under a rock (or overseas like me), you'll have heard Melbourne has been rated the most 'livable' city on Earth, ahead of Vienna and Vancouver by the Economist Intelligence Unit. I won't bore you with the obvious reasons (healthcare, political stablity, crime etc), but a few of the metrics they used are far more interesting. The ones that make me pause are: 'Culture' and 'Environment'. Firstly, how do you assess culture, that's absurd. Secondly, how is Australia (who had several cities in the top ten) ranking so well in environment - we have one of the highest per capita emissions in the world. This seems critical to me, but is apparently not a factor. There are many more questions about what metrics are used, and how subjective so much of it is, but an opinion piece in the age focusses on one other aspect: density.
From a planning point of view, the Economist Intelligence Unit analysis is a catastrophe, because it confirms our resistance to urban density. It now seems provident that we have so many obstinate building restrictions and setbacks to maintain our low density. Alas, the Australian fear of living close to other Australians has had the unfortunate consequence of creating a vast sprawl which is unliveable without millions of cars.The question is: will Melbourne rank so well when petrol prices are triple what they are now?
Don't get too cocky, we have a lot to do yet...
Have a read of the BBC article here, and the Age Opinion piece here.