3.14.2005

it's nice to live in canada

According to an annual quality of life survey, five Canadian cities are the most livable places in North America, and among the top 25 best places to live in the world.

For the second straight year, Vancouver placed third worldwide behind Geneva and Zurich. Toronto was 14th, Ottawa 20th, Montreal 22nd, and Calgary came in at 25th. I am truly impressed.

Among US cities, Honolulu and San Francisco ranked highest for livability (both 25th), mainly because of lower crime rates relative to the rest of the country. Boston, New York, Portland, and Washington follow at 36, 39, 42, and 42, respectively. Houston ranks lowest at 68. (Way to go, Texas!)

I've been chewing this over, wondering how Boston can rate ahead of New York in anything - yes Allan, except baseball. But I will grudgingly concede that it is probably easier to live in Boston than New York. Not better, just easier.

The survey also gives a separate ranking based on personal safety and security. The world's least secure city? Baghdad.

The lowest-scoring North American city in the personal safety category was Atlanta. (KK, are you reading this? Get out while you can!)

From the results: "The analysis is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of life criteria for each city, including political, social, economic, and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport, and other public services."

CTV story here and summary of survey results here. Many thanks to ALPF!

18 comments:

Crabbi said...

It's nice to live in the belly of the beast, too :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Canada always does very well in these comparisons of the quality of life and yet, I always feel the studies are, in some way, flawed. In this latest study, Calgary scores the same as Honolulu and San Francisco, yet if you took a ramdom samplig of 100 people who were familiar with all three cities, you can bet there would not be an even split of preferences among them (and I don't need to point out which one would lose out). The single most important factor for determining quality-of-life among cities in democratic countries is climate and that is never considered in these studies. More people would choose smoggy, crime-ridden, semi-tropical Houston over clean, safe, sub-arctic Calgary any day.

L-girl said...

The single most important factor is climate?? I wouldn't even put climate on the list of what makes a city liveable.

I wouldn't live in Atlanta or Houston if they had the nicest weather in the world. (And they don't.)

I don't think polling people familiar with the cities would tell you much. People might love Honolulu (eg) for a vacation, but have no idea what it's really like to live there.

RobfromAlberta said...

Yes, you wouldn't and, obviously I wouldn't either, but I do not believe we represent the majority view in this regard. You need only look at the demographic trends in your own country to see the effect of climate. The fastest growing populations in the US are in Nevada, Arizona, Texas and California. the slowest growth is seen in states like Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsion, etc.

L-girl said...

That's down to two factors, neither of them weather: jobs and affordable housing. In the case of Arizona, it's also because of the aging population and retirement communities.

NY, PA and all the rust belt states have bled jobs - and so, people - with the disappearance of manufacturing jobs.

RobfromAlberta said...

Absolutely, but why would so many employers choose to set up shop in that part of the country? What is the attraction? Water is scarce. It's far from the big urban markets on the East Coast. Sure, land is plentiful and cheap, but there's plenty of cheap land in the Great Plains states. I suspect land is a lot cheaper in North Dakota than it is in Arizona.

The difference is the new economy needs highly-educated people and its hard to attract people like that to North Dakota.

RobfromAlberta said...

And why don't people want to live in North Dakota? Because it's too cold.

L-girl said...

I take your point about ND, but I'm unconvinced that good jobs have much to do with climate.

The population shift in the US isn't really based on good jobs. Jobs for educated professionals are in NY or Boston or Seattle as much as in Atlanta. The people who have been displaced by closed factories aren't (on the whole) moving into the new economy. They are stranded in low-paying service jobs. It costs less to live in those Southern cities, so they move there. At least that's my reading of it.

I'm not saying those studies are perfect. But the criteria they listed seem a lot more important than climate in determining livability.

RobfromAlberta said...

Yeah, I don't know really. It's just a theory I have to explain why, despite consistently being described as one of the most livable countries in the world, Canada falls short of its immigration quotas every year. The other possibility, which is much harder to admit, is that Canada is so monumentally uninteresting, hardly anyone wants to come here.

L-girl said...

Hee hee. I'll let you know.

Crabbi said...

Thought you'd like this quote:

"I've always felt that if anything makes Canada kind of great, it's that we don't care about legacy, pride, or genius. If I'm proud of anything, it's that I live in a nation that's ashamed to be nationalistic."

Jesse Brown, columnist, Saturday Night, November 2004 (from Utne Reader, April 2005)

How refreshingly modest! I especially like "kind of great." And how nice to be able to express healthy appreciation for one's country without uttering the phrase "best place on earth."

L-girl said...

Excellent! It definitely illustrates part of what attracts me to Canada. Thank for thinking of me. :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Here's another quote in a similar vein from a hatchet job by Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard entitled Canada: The Great White Waste of Time

"The headline in Ontario's Windsor Star tells you all you need to know about Canadian triumphalism: "Cheers to us, we're No. 4.""

Actually, the article is directed at "Bush refugees" like you, L-girl. You should check it out.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/349tpijp.asp?pg=1

L-girl said...

Thanks, but I'm not sure I have the stomach for the Weekly Standard. Maybe tonight after I've had a glass or wine or two...

L-girl said...

OK, I took a quick peek. Looks pretty gruesome. Perhaps I can psyche myself up to read more later.

One question, though. Do I really count as a "Bush refugee" - since we were leaving even if Kerry won the election?

RobfromAlberta said...

No, probably not. Labash used the term pretty loosely since some of the Americans he interviewed already resided in Canada, so they were probably not true "Bush refugees" either.

I didn't disagree with everything he had to say, but choosing a highly-controversial supervised injection facility for addicts in Vancouver as somehow representative of Canada was, in my opinion, grossly unfair. It would be akin to going to a KKK meeting and claiming it was representative of red state America.

Crabbi said...

You're welcome!

As for the "We're number four" quote, what a great illustration of how differently neocons and progressives view the world. Labash appparently sees this as a sign of weakness and inferiority. I read a quote like that and I think Canada sounds like an incredibly sane place to live. Plus, it's just a funny thing to say. Maybe the neocon missed the irony? They've been known to do that.

L-girl said...

Rob: Of course it's a grossly unfair exaggeration. That's the neocon standard approach. Distort, deride, dismiss. Disgusting.

Crab: It reminds me of a conversation I had not long ago... Actually, I think I'll post this instead.