The most livable cities in the world in 2021

(CNN) – The impact of Covid-19 on global livability has been absolutely devastating.

More than a year after the start of the pandemic, ongoing health crises, border closures and blockages continue to affect millions of people around the world.

But some destinations have fared much better than others in dealing with the virus, meaning those who live there were able to resume some semblance of normal life soon enough.

New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis, so it is perhaps not surprising that one of its cities has been named the most livable city in the world for 2021.

Auckland topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Sustainability Index of 140 cities around the world thanks to its success in quickly containing the pandemic, allowing restrictions to be lifted early on.

The annual list has not been brought forward in 2020, but Austria’s Vienna, number one in 2018 and 2019, has dropped out of the top 10 altogether after being heavily affected by Covid, and now sits in 12th place.

Under domination

    A general view of Cottesloe Beach is seen at Sculpture by the Sea on March 14, 2021 in Perth, Australia

Perth was one of four Australian cities to make the top 10.

Paul Kane / Getty Images

New Zealand’s capital Wellington was fourth on this year’s list, tied with Tokyo in Japan, and four cities in Australia, where strict border controls have been in place throughout the crisis, occupy the top 10 .

Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane were third, sixth and 10th respectively, while Melbourne is tied with Switzerland Geneva for eighth.

“The cities that have reached the top of the rankings this year are largely those that have taken strict measures to contain the pandemic,” Upasana Dutt of The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a statement.

“New Zealand’s strict containment allowed their society to reopen and allowed citizens of cities like Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a lifestyle that resembled life before the pandemic. “

Meanwhile, Tokyo wasn’t the only Japanese city topped the list. Osaka, which was number four in 2019, moved up to second place.

While Asia-Pacific cities appear to have excelled, Canada, which had three cities Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto near the top two years ago, has dropped out of the top 10 altogether. At number 16, Vancouver is the city. highest Canadian on the list.

Unsurprisingly, the overall global average livability score has fallen by seven points from pre-pandemic figures.

The index takes into account more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors covering five broad categories: stability (25%), health care (20%), culture and environment (25%), education (10%) and infrastructure (20% ).

While the categories have not been changed this year, a number of indicators have been taken into account, such as stress on health resources and restrictions on local sporting events, when calculating scores for the categories. health, culture and environment and education.

However, the way each city handled the pandemic, the speed with which vaccines were deployed and the level of border restrictions put in place resulted in major changes in the rankings.

Health impact

Tourists pose in front of Osaka Castle on March 5, 2020 in Osaka, Japan.

The Japanese city of Osaka has jumped two places and is now ranked as the second most livable city in the world.

Buddhika Weerasinghe / Getty Images

“The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global livability,” adds Dutt. “Cities around the world are now much less livable than they were before the start of the pandemic, and we have seen that regions like Europe have been particularly affected.”

In Europe, Germany saw the biggest drops in rankings, especially the city of Hamburg, which dropped 34 places to 47th place on the list.

But despite some social restrictions still in place in Switzerland, the central European country has seen two of its cities advance, Zurich and Geneva, from 11th and 14th to seventh and eighth place.

Overall healthcare scores also fell due to the pandemic, with Prague in the Czech Republic, Athens in Greece and Jakarta in Indonesia where the number of cases was on the rise at the time of the investigation, scoring significantly lower than the previous years.

In comparison, the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid performed well in the healthcare category, gaining almost 25 points due to their less strained healthcare systems compared to the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020. .

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, also increased its health score, with an increase of 33 points due to the reduction in the number of Covid cases and good vaccination rates.
In fact, Honolulu was one of the top players on the 2021 list, dropping from 46 spots to number 14. Houston jumped 25 spots to number 31, an increase likely related to Texas being one of the top spots. US states to lift restrictions on public spaces.

Deterioration of conditions

People rest at a fountain in front of the Karlskirche or St Charles Church in Vienna on April 21, 2021.

The Austrian from Vienna, who was number one for two consecutive years, fell to 12th place.

JOE KLAMAR / AFP via Getty Images

But while there were many significant differences at the top, very little has changed at the bottom of the list.

As Damascus again sits in last place “as the effects of the civil war in Syria continue to wreak havoc”, it is closely followed by Lagos in Nigeria, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Dhaka in Bangladesh, who were all in similar or identical places. in 2019.

These cities have consistently performed poorly over the years due to instability caused by ongoing civil unrest and military conflicts, among other issues.

According to the report, conditions here have deteriorated further over the past 12 months, especially in healthcare, due to Covid-19.

While the successful rollout of vaccination and the easing of restrictions in various countries have raised hopes, the pandemic continues to rage with India currently in the midst of a deadly epidemic.

“Conditions in the poorest cities are likely to deteriorate further, if cities fail to obtain the vaccines they need to prevent the spread of new variants of Covid-19,” the report said. “Weak health systems could be under more pressure, as they did in India.”

That ultimately means we’ll likely see bigger changes in the annual roster from 2022, some of the cities that fell may return to their old positions.

“The pace of restoring habitability in most areas will be determined by how effectively the health risks of the pandemic can be controlled, through a combination of vaccination, testing, tracing and monitoring. quarantine, “the report continues.

“Barring huge setbacks, such as the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants, crop and environmental scores should improve. ”

The most livable cities in the world 2021

1. Auckland, New Zealand

2. Osaka, Japan

3. Adelaide, Australia

4. Wellington, New Zealand

4. Tokyo, Japan

6. Perth, Australia

7. Zurich, Switzerland

8. Geneva, Switzerland

8. Melbourne, Australia

10. Brisbane, Australia

The least livable cities in the world 2021

1. Damascus, Syria

2. Lagos, Nigeria

3. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

4. Dhaka, Bangladesh

5. Algiers, Algeria

6. Tripoli, Libya

7. Karachi, Pakistan

8. Harare, Zimbabwe

9. Douala, Cameroon

10. Caracas, Venezuela

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