With Vancouver slipping down the ranking slightly in 2011, Melbourne remains the most liveable location of the 140 cities surveyed, followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna. In fact, there has been no change among the top tier. The score and ranking of the top 65 cities remain identical to six months ago. This may primarily reflect renewed stability as some economies begin to recover from the global economic crisis of a few years ago, although the continuing crisis in the euro zone and tighter fiscal budgets may have also slowed planned improvements, meaning that scores have remained static rather than moving up or down.
The Liveability Ranking and Overview assesses living conditions in 140 cities around the world. A rating of relative comfort for 30 indicators is assigned across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. The survey gives an overall rating of 0-100, where 1 is intolerable and 100 is ideal.
The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses. The survey originated as a means of testing whether Human Resource Departments needed to assign a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages.
While this function is still a central potential use of the survey, it has also evolved as a broad means of benchmarking cities. This means that liveability is increasingly used by city councils, organisations or corporate entities looking to test their locations against others to see general areas where liveability can differ.
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