MELBOURNE has been named the world’s most liveable city for an unprecedented sixth year in a row.
The Economist announced today that the city would retain the crown, as livability in 20 per cent of the cities surveyed plummeted.
Melbourne edged out Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary for the title.
The city scored a near perfect 97.5 out of 100 — with top marks in healthcare, infrastructure and education.
“The decline (in livability) is largely a result of heightened fears over terrorism with more than 1000 reported attacks in 2016 so far, with incidents in France, Turkey, the US and Belgium being the most high profile,” the Economist said on its website.
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“Factors such as social unrest in many US cities due to the deaths of black people in police custody, tensions in Eastern Europe and Asia and the ongoing civil wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya have compounded the decline.”
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle described the win as “a fantastic accolade for Melbourne and something we should all be proud of”.
“We do not take this title for granted and are constantly planning and implementing policies that will continue to improve our quality of life,” Cr Doyle said.
“It is an exciting time in Melbourne: we’ve got many major infrastructure projects underway including the Metro Tunnel, and the proposed renewal of the Queen Victoria Market precinct.
“It’s also the little things also make a big difference: planting more trees, recycling stormwater, making more parks and green spaces, providing better paths and connections for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as embracing technology and data to improve our operations.
“I can’t wait to make my annual phone call to Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver.”
Melbourne knocked Vancouver off the top of the table in 2011, after the city won the two previous years.
Premier Daniel Andrews said earning the title for an unprecedented sixth year proved “there’s no city on earth quite like Melbourne”.
“This is a result all Victorians can be so proud of,” he said.
“We’ve once again outperformed some of the world’s best cities when it comes to healthcare, education, infrastructure, culture and environment, and sport.
“We’ve got something for everyone and the best of everything in Melbourne. Our title proves it.”
Australia and Canada both had three cities make the top 10, with Adelaide and Perth ranking sixth and seventh.
Sydney dropped out of the top 10 after placing seventh last year.
“Sydney, for example, has fallen by four places, to move out of the ten most liveable cities, owing to a heightened perceived threat of terrorism,” theEconomist said.
The report, known as the Global Liveability Ranking, said that it appeared that violent crime was increasing in top-tier cities.
A recent wave of violent crime, partially attributed to youth gangs, has spread across Melbourne’s suburbs with carjackings and terrifying home invasions.
“Although crime rates are perceived as rising in Australia, the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, recorded a crime rate of 7,489.5 per 100,000 people in 2013/14,” the report said.
“This reflected an increase of 3.7 per cent compared with 2012/13, but despite the increase in the crime rate in three consecutive years, the 2013/14 rate was still 1.6 per cent lower than ten years earlier.”
The Herald Sun reported earlier this month that experts feared the city would lose the title, much to the digust of veherement Melbourne defender, former Premier Jeff Kennett.
Mr Kennett said Melbourne was still the most livable city in the world, and he didn’t need The Economist to tell him that.
Igniting the debate earlier, RMIT planning professor Michael Buxton said: “Melbourne’s livability for its citizens is plummeting”.
“There has been a lot of talk that Melbourne’s rating has been exaggerated, particularly during the last few years.
“We have to get our focus on the real game, which is improving the way the city works.”
But Cr Doyle today said that while there were areas for improvement, “this just reminds us not to lose sight of what a wonderful city we have created over decades”.
“People like Professor Buxton must be very disappointed that Melbourne has been named World’s Most Liveable City for the sixth consecutive year,” he said.
“Every Melburnian should be proud of this, given we all in our own ways have helped to create it.”
Committee for Melbourne boss Martine Letts celebrated the city’s latest title but warned that it could not ignore “profound ‘over the horizon’ challenges”.
“The world is in a state of accelerating change,” she said.
“A strong, globally competitive economy underpins Melbourne’s ongoing growth and liveability. “Making the most of the opportunities ahead needs a long-term, strategic response across business, government, and our broader society.”