Embracing our communities

It seems like the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has given the most liveable cities list a miss this year.

In saying that, however, last month a headline of sorts got my attention. While it seems as though this year we may be going without a final list of most liveable cities, but instead Time Out have released a list of best neighbourhoods, including some very well-known areas of a particular city have been ranked to compensate.

Upon further research I learned that it wasn’t the first year this list had been published, just the first year I was alerted to it.

I find it difficult to pinpoint many of these neighbourhoods outside of Australia. Much of the time while travelling, I do not give a lot of thought to the area I am in, but remember things like landmarks and street names and get so caught up in where I am that I forget to take notice of the neighbourhood name. I am confident enough to say that out of the top 30, I have visited only 4, when I have been to many of the cities these areas are located in! It is highly likely that I have been to a few more, without realising it, which only goes to show that maybe I should pay more attention while travelling. Though I do have to say, getting caught up in the moment is a great way to discover new places too. Retracing your steps to find on return trips is even better; it’s often quite a challenge, which is all part of the fun of it!

Determining factors

Earlier this month I stumbled across another similar list, this time of ‘The best cities in the world’ with populations of more than one million. This list ranks cities based on 6 metrics including Place, Product, Programming, People, Prosperity and Promotion. There were 5 Australian cities featured in the list, which makes me happy to be living here right now, and generally all the time (except when I am longing for an overseas getaway).

Similar to this blog post from last year, and also earlier this year when I looked at the need to redefine liveability in 2020, I wanted to look at some of the determining factors for these kinds of lists. Ranking factors for the World’s coolest neighbourhoods list include neighbourliness and how communities come together in times of crisis. Both of these have truly been tested in 2020, and while this post isn’t intended to point out the countries who have done really well in that aspect, I think strong, yet empathetic leadership plays a huge part.

People and community

These newly discovered lists are much more modern, which is what I was talking about in my post last year. I suggested that we needed an acknowledgement of the people who make a community what it is, and an appreciation of its differences.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us how to better live together, and share common spaces. It has taught us to find new ways to interact by embracing digital technologies that were already at our fingertips. Online meetings, online shopping, online food orders, you name it, you can do it with a device that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

I disagree that this has contributed to a fragmented society or a disconnected community. Experiencing something as challenging as we have done this year has not been an easy feat, and as stated in CNN travel magazine, it really is “cool to be kind”, and the community you are in plays a big part in that.

Consuming energy

I must admit that lately I have been thinking a lot about our carbon footprint and the energy consumed around the world during COVID, including the increase in technology consumption largely due to these new ways of connecting and more time spent at home. While pollution may have reduced somewhat, we are still relying on an instantaneous connection across all of our devices, which we use to work, entertain, shop and buy food pretty much all day every day. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and plan on covering the topic on a deeper level in next month’s blog post by looking into how the energy consumption in 2020 compares with the year prior.

Until then, stay healthy, stay kind and stay curious.