Liveability: France versus Melbourne
In the global liveability race between Melbourne and Paris, there is a clear winner. The Australian city wins hands down, but is that really the end of the story?
It’s an open-and-shut case of 1st versus 16th position. No need for a count back, no photo finish. So why then, do so many Australians dream of living in Paris?
Melbourne wins on paper but Paris dominates our dreams
When Melbourne was crowned the world’s most liveable city for the second year running in August 2012, we Melbournites should have been feeling pretty smug. The city boasted perfect scores in the categories of infrastructure, healthcare and education, losing just a few points in the areas of climate, petty crime and culture¹.
But, upon ready the survey results; I didn’t heave the expected sigh of relief. And instead of concentrating on settling in for good, confident in the knowledge that I was already living in the best city in the world, my mind invariably wanders to Paris. And it seems I’m not alone. Blogger Alan Davies echoes this sentiment:
“The strange thing is I have quite a few friends living in top-ten cities who would, if they were given the chance, elect to live in lower-ranking cities. They say they’d love to live in a global city like New York, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or London.”²
Not the full story on Paris
See, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey takes into account a lot of factors. But aside from the rather broad ‘culture’ category (which accounts for just one-ninth of 25% of a city’s overall ranking)³ I’m yet to find a measure in there that judges a city on their comparable quality of baguettes, or that examines the economic value of people-watching on the Boulevard St Germain.
Yes, perhaps I am being a little facetious, and I understand that healthcare and public transport are essential functions; my point is simply that the EIU survey fails to capture the soul of a city. And such a survey shouldn’t really be expected to.
Forget liveability, we want the excitement of Paris
The UK Guardian’s Leo Hickman sums up my feelings well: “But aren’t the top-ranked cities – let’s be honest – a bit dull…”?
For me, there are many intangible features of Paris that make it an appealing a place to live. And in light of these survey results I wonder if the ranking itself isn’t something to love about the city. Those who love Paris don’t love it because it’s perfect. Au contraire, the less-than-desirable postal system, the manic traffic jams and the impeccably-timed métro strikes are all part of the fabric that makes Paris what it is.
A complicated, and sometimes frustrating city, yes. But certainly not a dull one.References:
1. Melbourne again most liveable city: Jason Dowling, The Age 15/08/2012
2, 3. Is Melbourne really the World’s Most Liveable City?: Alan Davies, Crikey 16/08/2012
4. Where is better to live than London?: Leo Hickman, The Guardian 15/08/2012Image credits:
1. FarbenfroheWunderwelt on Flickr.
2. wlappe on Flickr.
3. JR_Paris on Flickr.