Daily Rumination No. 32: ‘Liveable’

Flowing on from yesterday’s Daily Rumination on urban planning, I’d like to discuss briefly the notion of ‘liveability’. In our data-obsessed society, we now strive to measure everything, even broad, subjective and ambiguous human experiences. Liveability is one such broad concept that must be broken down into many smaller components in the hope of measuring it.

Melbourne was ranked as the world’s most liveable city for seven consecutive years until 2017, when it was beaten by Vienna. These rankings are determined in a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit. According to website Only Melbourne, 140 cities are receive scores out of 100 in the important areas of health care, education, stability, culture, environment and infrastructure.

I am currently in Melbourne for work, and with infrastructure in mind, I would like to draw your attention to this photo.

What you’re looking at is a queue of Melbourne commuters (as far as the eye can see) and it isn’t even in the centre of the city.

I understand that large cities battle with congestion. Melbourne is fortunate to have a fantastic tram network and other public transport and yet this is still the case. What’s concerning though is that this is the city that won the top spot for global liveability for seven years and is now in second place, including data on infrastructure.

If this is what the best in the world looks like, I’d be shocked to see what things are like in much lower-ranking cities around the world.