Vancouver is an incredible place to live and has been ranked top 10 on the worlds most liveable cities list for more than a decade. Interestingly, however, since 2011 Vancouver has begun to descend the list moving from the first spot to the sixth. Here is a quick summary of Vancouver’s movement along the world’s most livable cities list as posted by the Economic Intelligence Unit.
Vancouver first reached the spot as the world’s most liveable city in 2007. The city was successfully able to retain this placement until 2012 when it was bumped down to third place, being surpassed by Melbourne, Australia, and Vienna, Austria. Then in 2018 it again fell on the list moving to the sixth place, even surpassed by another Canadian city, Calgary.
To have a deeper understanding of what is happening let’s look at Vancouver’s score breakdown for 2018.
Overall rating (out of 100): 97.3
Culture and environment: 100.0
It can be noted that the culture and environment for Vancouver is still at a perfect score. No other city shares this score with Vancouver, the closest being Melbourne, Australia with a score of 98.6. Where Vancouver has lost ground, however, is in infrastructure and stability. The poor score in infrastructure can be explained by a lack of public transit as well as highway closures around BC. Stability, on the other hand, is a more worrying problem.
Over the past decade, Vancouver has seen a real estate boom. Unlike its west coast siblings of San Fransisco and Seattle, this rapid increase in real-estate prices has not been the cause of an influx in high paying jobs, but rather foreign investment. This has caused a lack of housing for those who work in Vancouver, and have forced workers to commute incredible distances so that they can afford a place to live.
This economical downfall of Vancouver, has been incredibly perplexing to me for quite a while, as there is no clear solution to the problem. Interestingly Melbourne, Australia, the world’s most livable city from 2012 to 2017 has begun to succumb to the same fate. From this the conclusion can be drawn that being such a desirable city to live in causes a flow of wealth to a city, that pushes those that keep the city running out. I am curious how long it will take policy makers to find a solution to this problem, as it has only begun to emerge with the globalization of the 21st century, and more personally if Vancouver will continue this downwards trend or be able to rebound and become a more liveable city once again.