Singapore has been ranked as APAC's 11th most liveable city, just one place behind Hong Kong. This was according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking 2018, which provides scores for lifestyle challenges in 140 cities worldwide.
Singapore (which overtook Hong Kong for the first time in 2017) has now come slightly behind it's regional rival, with an overall rating difference of 0.1% between the both countries.
Hong Kong, whose ranking fell dramatically in 2015 due to heightened fears of unrest as part of the so-called Umbrella Revolution, has largely recovered and now comes in at 35th place globally. In its own turn, Singapore's score also registered an improvement in the public healthcare category, boasting the highest possible score.
Elsewhere in the region, Osaka and Tokyo climbed up over the past year to enter the top ten at third and seventh position respectively. The rise of both cities can be attributed to a consistent decline in crime rates and improvements in public transportation, which have pushed the overall rating for both cities to well over 95%. After breaking into the top ten, both cities are at their highest ranking position since the survey began over a decade ago.
Although liveability scores for most Chinese cities did not change over the last year, Shenzhen registered a modest improvement of 0.7% after it electrified its entire fleet of public transit buses. This measure is one of the first successes in a nation-wide effort to transition to electric vehicles, whose larger impact on liveability in Chinese cities, and especially in the Greater Bay area, remains to be seen.
The 10 most liveable APAC cities in 2018 are:
#1 Melbourne Country: Australia Global rank: 2 Overall rating: 98.4
#2 Osaka Country: Japan Global rank: 3 Overall rating: 97.7
#3 Sydney Country: Australia Global rank: 5 Overall rating: 97.4
#4 Tokyo Country: Japan Global rank: 7 Overall rating: 97.2
#5 Adelaide Country: Australia Global rank: 10 Overall rating: 96.6
#6 Auckland Country: New Zealand Global rank: 12 Overall rating: 96.0
#7 Perth Country: Australia Global rank: 14 Overall rating: 95.9
#8 Brisbane Country: Australia Global rank: 22 Overall rating: 94.3
#9 Wellington Country: New Zealand Global rank: 26 Overall rating: 93.6
#10 Hong Kong Country: Hong Kong Global rank: 35 Overall rating: 91.3
Globally, Vienna outscored Melbourne to become the world’s most liveable city. Improving security scores, propelled by a return to relative stability across much of Europe, have been chiefly responsible for Vienna's rise to the top. Although Melbourne is no longer ranked highest, the difference between the two cities is marginal at just 0.7%. Other Australian cities continue to perform well, with Sydney and Adelaide joining Melbourne in the top ten, at fifth and tenth places respectively.
Roxana Slavcheva, editor of the survey, commented, “Although Melbourne can no longer claim the title of the most liveable city in the world, Asia Pacific cities have a lot to boast. With a global top 10 containing three Australian cities and two Japanese ones, Australasia clearly dominates the top performers. At the other end of the scale, three of the cities posing the highest number of challenges to daily life are also located in the region, so the picture is a lot more nuanced.”
The report revealed that global liveability has improved for the second year in a row, from 74.8% last year to 75.7%, led by a 2.9% improvement in stability.
As the destabilising effects of civil unrest and the threat of terrorism gradually decline, 68 cities have seen their liveability ranking improve over the past year. On the flip side, just nine cities saw declines, four of which are based in Asia: Kuala Lumpur (78th globally, 18th in Asia), Kathmandu (129th globally, 32nd in Asia), Colombo (130th globally, 33rd in Asia), and Dhaka (139th globally, 36th in Asia).
The Economist Intelligence Unit noted their fall chiefly reflected an impact on culture and environment indicators, with Kathmandu and Dhaka’s score being affected to a large extent by pollution and declining air quality, a factor that is increasingly having repercussions for liveability in South Asia.