Auckland the World's Most Liveable City!?
The headline today in a bunch of news outlets is that Auckland is the world's most "liveable city" which just goes to show ... that such rankings are meaningless nonsense. Shame on the Economists "Intelligence" Unit (EIU) for publishing this kind of stuff. Auckland's housing affordability crisis, traffic congestion, weak infrastructure and sewerage-pouring-into-the-harbour-when-there's-heavy-rain notwithstanding, the EIU has apparently chosen to give the city the top ranking because the virus is not on the loose in it. Well, they shouldn't confuse a country's response to the pandemic with how well a particular city is functioning.
The world's leading urban economist, Ed Glaeser, also made a comment on such "liveability" rankings when he visited us in Auckland a few years ago. He argued that cities should be vibrant, exciting places. Hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship. They should be places to exchange ideas and feed off other people's thoughts, energy and inspiration. The purpose of a city is not to come and relax and stare at the view all day long and marvel at how "liveable" it is. New York is an edgy, happening place, as is London. Isn't that what we want in a city? If you want peace, tranquility and to be in a lovely environment, go live in the Bay of Islands or move to Otago (!)
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