Vienna bags most liveable city title for 10th year

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The city of Vienna is seen during a sunny day from mount Kahlenberg, Austria March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) – The Austrian capital Vienna has topped Mercer’s index of most liveable cities for the 10th year in a row.

Known by tourists for its imperial past, gilded palaces and classical music, the city of 1.9 million is also nicknamed “red Vienna” for having long been run by the political left, with cheap public services and abundant social housing.

Being medium-sized, safe and relatively green are some of the features it shares with second-placed Zurich, a much more expensive city and major financial centre, as well as with Auckland, Munich and Vancouver, which came joint third.

Those top five cities in consulting firm Mercer’s 2019 Quality of Living Ranking published yesterday were unchanged from last year’s edition, though Vancouver rose to joint third from fifth.

Mercer says it looks at 39 factors grouped under 10 headings such as “political and social environment” and “recreation”.

The 10 cities at the bottom of the 231-city table were unchanged, with Baghdad ranked last, followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic and Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

There were few big shifts but Caracas fell 29 places to 222nd as Venezuela has suffered from hyperinflation, a shortage of basic goods and, more recently, a political crisis since opposition leader Juan Guaido assumed the interim presidency in January.

Mercer said Caracas “saw living standards drop following significant political and economic instability”.

Its index, however, was based on data analysed between September and November 2018, meaning it did not take into account recent developments such as a massive blackout that has crippled oil exports and made already scarce food rot.

Brexit did not cause major movements among British cities. London remained the highest-ranked overall at 44th despite coming last in Britain in a separate personal safety ranking.

Dublin, which was ranked safer than any British city, rose one spot to 33rd overall, just above San Francisco.

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