What makes Sydney one of the world’s most liveable cities?

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Every year, several Australian cities can just about be relied upon to rank extremely well in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Ranking.

In 2015, Australia came out as a top country once again.

The report is based on more than 30 factors, with analysts delving into everything from healthcare and infrastructure to safety and educational resources. By comparing 140 of the world’s biggest cities, the report highlights both strengths and weaknesses of each place and puts them on a global scale.

State capital Sydney has placed seventh overall, making it one of the most desirable cities in the world in which to live. While you might think the top honour would go to major hubs such as Paris, London, or New York, the EIU explained that even though these cities are wealthy and have endless cultural opportunities, their higher crime rates and congestion dropped them down the ranks.

In fact, the top 10 is largely comprised of “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. These can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure,” stated the report.

So what is it that makes Sydney so liveable?

A full quarter of the EIU ratings is accounted for by scores in the culture and environment category. This includes a humidity/temperature rating, and when Sydney’s average summer highs are around 26 degrees C, with 340 sunshine days per year and rare single digits through winter, it’s not hard to see why the city scored well. Another factor in this area is that of sporting availability, where Sydney no doubt scored well thanks to its status as a past Olympic city, the close beachfront, the endless weekend sports groups, and strong sporting culture.

More seriously, a further 25 per cent of the overall ranking is attributed to the stability of a city. This includes the prevalence of violent and petty crime, as well as the threat of military conflict and the threat of civil unrest. Being a peaceful country fairly well removed from unrest, all Australian cities can benefit from higher rankings in this area.The third largest category in terms of weighting is that of infrastructure, which is given 20 per cent of the overall score and takes into account factors such as good quality housing, energy and water provision, telecommunications, quality road networks, public transport, and international links. Sydney Airport saw 38.5 million passengers pass through in 2014 according to the facility’s website, NSW roads benefitted from $5.5 billion in investment in maintaining upgrading and operating roads in 2014-15, and while there’s no denying a high demand for Sydney homes, the quality of housing is consistently high.

Other areas of deliberation for the report were education (10 per cent), and healthcare (20 per cent).  

And the number one spot? It went to Melbourne while third place went to another Australian city, Adelaide. These cities are a far cry from bottom ranked Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Damascus in Syria.