In 2018 I wrote a blog post about the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI) and reasons that I found this list questionable. I referred to the lack of separation between developed and developing cities, and that it seems somewhat biased that one is expected to compete against the other.
The 2019 list fared similar results to the year prior, with the same cities ranked as number 1 and 2 (Austria, Melbourne) according to factors including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, which I agree are all very important factors.
But I do wonder how the 2020 list will play out, if it is ever released?
With COVID-19 having affected and still affecting most of the world, should our cities’ responsiveness to deal with a global pandemic also be considered?
The 2020 list
It could be argued that the entire purpose of a city and its liveability should be redefined.
After ranking as number 2 for two consecutive years, how will Melbourne, Australia fare in future lists? No longer the epicentre for work, dining and entertainment with harsh restrictions in place on and off throughout 2020, the city of Melbourne has reportedly been a much quieter place.
Will the 2020 be the year that the prerequisites are adjusted in light of the pandemic?
We are in such a strange time, so many people’s lives have been turned upside down (whether though loss or major disruption) or affected in some other way (weddings cancelled, travel postponed).
Of course, the liveability index won’t take the percentage of people affected by these inconveniences into account, this is well outside of their ranking factors. But it seems that Melbourne is no longer the place that everyone wants to be.
Life in Melbourne
During the past 6 months, it has become clear to most Melburnians that we are most comfortable when we live in close proximity to:
- Nature, parklands or walking tracks
- A supermarket
This year we have finally been pushed to realise the full potential of having many services available to us online. It has been said that the world has jumped forward 10 years so that we can cope with the pandemic and luckily, we can get the majority of what we need this way relatively quickly and easily.
Whether the aftermath or 2020 means packing up and leaving the state, moving back in or away from parents or staying put when the end of the pandemic is in sight, we will have to wait and see.
There has been a lot of chatter about getting out of Victoria, escaping to a place with the supposed luxury of ‘being free.’
It might seem like a good idea right now, but isn’t the appeal of a big city what drew many of us here in the first place? But now it seems that ever since we started working from home, many of us have re-evaluated our lives and what is important, realising that we can work like this from anywhere.
I have mentioned before that I hope that businesses learn from this, put employees first and find a way for their staff to continue working from home if that is what they want.
So should the 2020 (or 2021) list include cities that have demonstrated a resilience and a capacity to bounce back?
I think so. And will this list include Melbourne? Probably not.
I will be very interested to see if the list is released at some point this year, a year of all kinds of firsts for many of us.