Muscat sixth most liveable city in the Middle East

August 16, 2017

A report which assesses the best and worst living conditions across the globe has placed Muscat as the sixth best city in the Middle East among the 22 cities surveyed in the region. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Global Liveability Report has for the seventh consecutive year named Melbourne in Australia as the most liveable urban centre of the 140 cities surveyed, closely followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna.

In fact, only 0.1 percentage points separate the top two cities, and just 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points separate Canada’s Vancouver and Toronto (ranked third and fourth, respectively), from Melbourne. Another Canadian city, Calgary, shares joint fifth place with Adelaide in Australia.

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The rankings are based on five broad categories namely stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. In the Middle East, Dubai leads the ranking followed by Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Doha, Muscat, Bahrain, Amman, Riyadh and Jeddah. The report mentioned that although the top five cities in the world ranking remain unchanged, the past few years have seen increasing instability across the world, causing volatility in the scores of many cities.

“In Europe, cities have been affected by the spreading perceived threat of terrorism in the region. At the same time, this year cities such as Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, and the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, have benefited from an increasing cultural availability and falling crime rates, enabling them to register improvements in living conditions,” it stated.

Overall, the survey shows a higher incidence of positive index movements. In fact, of the 17 cities with an index movement since last year, 12 have seen an improvement in their score, reflecting positive developments in other categories, despite heightened threats of terrorism or unrest with which cities around the world continue to grapple. The ongoing weakening of global stability scores has been made uncomfortably apparent by a number of high-profile incidents that have shown no signs of slowing in recent years, the report stated.

“Western Europe has become a focal point for mounting concerns, and repeated attacks in France and UK have had a contagion effect, raising terror alerts and lowering stability scores in cities across the region. However, there are other factors that could prove to be destabilising. Unrest has grown in some countries, particularly over the migration crisis, and the British vote to leave the EU could pave the way for further uncertainty and political conflict.”

On the flip side, however, cities moving up the ranking are located largely in countries that have enjoyed periods of relative stability after previously reported falls in liveability. These include, for example, Kiev in Ukraine, Tripoli in Libya and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The impact of declining stability is most apparent when a five-year view of the global average scores is taken. Overall, the global average liveability score has fallen by 0.8 per cent to 74.8 per cent over the past five years. Weakening stability has been a key factor in driving this decrease.

The average global stability score has fallen by two per cent over the past five years, from 73.4 per cent in 2012 to 71.4 per cent now. Over five years, 95 of the 140 cities surveyed have seen some change in their overall liveability scores. Of these cities, an overwhelming 66 have seen declines in liveability, but this number is actually down from 69 just six months ago.

“Two cities in particular, Damascus in Syria and Kiev, have seen significant declines of 16 and 21 percentage points respectively, illustrating that conflict is, unsurprisingly, the key factor in undermining wider liveability.”

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