Have you ever walked around a city and thought ‘this is Paradise’? Or maybe ‘this is the ugliest, most polluted, dangerous, frightening place I’ve ever been to and I can’t wait to get out’?
Read guide books
Most of us have. And that's why most of us like to know about the place before we go there. One thing we can do is read a good guide book. Another is to look at a new survey conducted by William Mercer, one of the world's largest Human Resources consultancies. Mercer decided to judge some of the world's great cities. They produced their results by giving marks for various criteria. These included political, economic and social environment, healthcare, educational provision, recreation and transport infrastructure.
The best cities
So, which are the best cities to live in, and which should we avoid? In joint first place were Vancouver, Berne, Vienna and Zurich while Sydney, Geneva, Auckland and Copenhagen came second. Swiss cities occupied three of the top ten places, making it the single most successful country of all those surveyed. New York was used as the base city with a score of 100, which put it in 50th place. Overall, US cities suffered because of high crime rates. The highest ranked US city was Honolulu with 104 points. For Londoners, the news was not too bad. London was slightly ahead of New York with 101.5. The report named London's good international relations as a positive point. Its poorest scores – six out of ten - were awarded for its climate and traffic.
The most dangerous place
Bottom of the list was Brazzaville, in the Congo, where there has been a civil war for many years. Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, last night said it was unfair to compare large international cities with small cities since the smaller ones were far easier to run. 'You have to look at cities of five million people plus. On that basis we're much better than Tokyo and New York’ said Mr Livingstone.