Singapore beats NYC, London, Hong Kong in Global Liveable Cities Index

A new index advocating a new measure of liveability has ranked Singapore as the third most liveable city in the world, lagging only Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
A new index advocating a new measure of liveability has ranked Singapore as the third most liveable city in the world, lagging only Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new index advocating a new measure of liveability has ranked Singapore as the third most liveable city in the world, lagging only Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland.

The Global Liveable Cities Index, described by its authors as a work in progress, measures 64 of the world's most populous cities based on factors including economic vibrancy and competitiveness, domestic security and stability, socio-cultural conditions, public governance, environmental friendliness and sustainability.

Notably, New York City does not appear until number 17 in the rankings, despite consistently topping the charts in most other indices. Tokyo ranks 18th and London is even lower down on the scale, at 22nd place. Jakarta sits in last place, at number 64.

The surprising results are just what the authors were going for. Dr Tan Khee Giap of the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, and Curtin University, in Bentley, Australia, sought out to build a multidimensional index that make sense of the many existing global city livability rankings.

These indices, they say, can be divided into two groups. The first includes those that put a higher value on cities based on economic-financial prowess, and strong global agenda-setting power in political and cultural matters. The second ranks cities based on their having a pleasant living environment, a mild climate and a scenic locale.

The new index, published in the World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, is intended to breach that divide.

Dr Tan's team is also simulating new rankings based on how environmental, political and economic changes which may improve liveability could alter the existing order.

Their calclations have shown that Singapore could rise to join Geneva in first place. The same changes could also see lower-ranked cities such as Chicago, Shanghai, Amman in Jordan and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates climb up the league table.

"The rank of a city today is not necessarily a good indicator of its rank in the future," noted the team.

"Environmental restoration and transport infrastructure improvements already underway in many Asian, and specifically Chinese cities, could see the higher liveability today of European cities outstripped as those developing cities develop further."

TOP TEN GLOBAL LIVEABLE CITIES

1. Geneva

2. Zurich

3. Singapore

4. Copenhagen

5. Helsinki

6. Luxembourg

7. Stockholm

8. Berlin

9. Hong Kong

10. Auckland