What makes Melbourne more liveable than Sydney? A heatwave made all the difference in The Economist‘s Global Liveability Index.
The cities tied on every category except for culture and environment, where Sydney fell short “primarily due to climate indicators”.
“While Sydney has, on average, higher temperatures than Melbourne, it also experiences many more humid days,” Nikita Sisaudia, urban data researcher at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told The New Daily.
“Earlier this year, Sydney experienced its most humid week as well as [its] highest temperature in several years during the heatwaves across New South Wales.”
She also revealed the liveability report does not consider housing affordability, which may raise questions about its credibility.
Sydney recorded its hottest day since 1939 on January 7, when it reached 47.3 degrees in Penrith.
The last week of January was the most humid in at least 15 years.
The city also just experienced its hottest July on record, according to Weatherzone, with an average maximum of 19.9 degrees.
Higher-than-average temperatures are expected to worsen as climate change progresses.
Melbourne was unseated from first place in the annual survey by Vienna, but still managed to achieve its highest overall score yet – at 98.4, up from 97.5 last year.
Vienna scored 99.1 overall after gaining ground on stability thanks to decreased terrorism fears.
Melbourne received perfect scores in healthcare, education and infrastructure.
Stability remained at 95, while its culture and environment score went up to 98.6.
Victoria’s opposition took a law and order swipe over the stability score, where Vienna gained points but Melbourne did not.
“Melbourne is a great city burdened by a Labor government that is too focused on desperate political stunts and not making our state safer,” Coalition spokesperson David Davis said.
The state’s Crime Statistics Agency in June said the annual crime rate was down 9.5 per cent.
The Economist report noted crime perception was down in top-ranking cities.
“It may be argued that violent crime is on an upward trend in the top tier of cities, but these observations are not always correct. Although crime rates are perceived as rising in Australia and Europe, cities in these regions continue to boast lower violent and petty crime rates than the rest of the world,” it said.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Melbourne’s lower ranking offered the “opportunity to pause and ask ourselves how we continue being a great city while growing at a fast pace”.
Sydney catapulted into fifth place with a score of 97.4, after dropping down to 11th last year.
It had slipped to 94.9 in 2017 because of “growing concerns over possible terror attacks in the past three years”.
As with Melbourne, Sydney scored perfect 100s on healthcare, education and infrastructure and stability was 95.
It scored 94.4 on culture and environment.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it was “terrific” Sydney was being recognised again.
But can we really trust the ranking when Melbourne and Sydney scored above Japan’s Osaka and Tokyo on infrastructure?
Ms Sisaudia said Osaka scored as well as the two Australian cities on all infrastructure indicators except for the availability of good-quality housing.
The survey does not consider housing affordability, she said.
“Although housing in Osaka may be more affordable, there is a wide range of housing styles available in both Australian cities.”
“Additionally, renting in Japanese cities also involves meeting several requirements, including the need for a guarantor, which may be cumbersome for visitors and expats.”
Osaka and Tokyo both climbed up the ranks because of decreased crime rates and public transport improvements.
Adelaide rose to No.10 with an overall score of 96.6. It tied with Melbourne on Sydney on everything but culture and environment.
Perth slipped to 14 and Brisbane dropped to 22.
Cities that tended to score best were mid-sized cities in wealthier countries.
World’s 10 most liveable cities:
- Vienna, Austria
- Melbourne, Australia
- Osaka, Japan
- Calgary, Canada
- Sydney, Australia
- Vancouver, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- Tokyo, Japan
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Adelaide, Australia
Source: The Economist