Vienna tops the world’s most livable cities index from The Economist. I certainly find it pretty livable, though we do miss LA from time to time.
But what’s really interesting is how the “most livable cities” are clustered (1) on or near coastlines (except for Calgary and Vienna; for Toronto, Lake Ontario counts), (2) in only 4 different countries, (3) in fairly temperate climates, and (4) not in any of the fastest-growing parts of the world. This last point enters my mind as a warning against the factors that decided this livability index and those that are quickly coming to dominate future-earth scenarios. (I.e., it’s not that I fear doom from climate change, etc., per se, but what sort of world — its politics, its distribution of power and resources — that rapid, unchecked change engenders.
What’s more, they are cosmopolitan places. (When I lived in Kobe, Japan, people used to joke that it was only 98% Japanese, so positively multicultural. But in truth, cities like Osaka [including Kobe] and Tokyo have large numbers of not-so-easily-visible-unless-you-really-look minorities like Koreans, Chinese, and increasingly other SE Asians, many of whom are quite acculturated Japanese.)
I do hope that the Americans take note!
Now some hipster-images of the world’s most livable city:
Reading “as the plough goes”, starting from top left to right: the Danube from Heuriger Hirt just west of Vienna; fried char near Klosterneuburg; beers at a pop-up bar along the Donaukanal; Sankt-Ulrichs-platz; light snack Austrian-style; concentrated academic reading in 7th district; brunch in Yppenplatz, 16th district; clouds through the streetcar wires; Miranda Bar’s, 6th district, cool sign against the evening sky.