popularity contests

Vancouver Wins World Beauty Pageant (Sorry, Contestant No. 56)

The results are in from the latest Economist Intelligence Unit survey — a popularity contest that selects the world’s most livable city. Vancouver topped the list for the fifth straight year and strutted offstage weeping carefully rehearsed tears of faux surprise. The only major upset was that Melbourne nudged Vienna out of second place. (Which makes this even more like a beauty pageant, in which the contestants would also be named Vienna.)

Pittsburgh was the top U.S. city on the survey, and came in 29th. New York held on to 56th place. But that’s where it always is. And, really, the rules of the pageant are prejudiced against busy cities like New York. Scores are based on a combination of environment, health care, culture, and infrastructure, and according to the report’s editor Jon Copestake, “Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion.”

So really, New York is just too popular. But it does break our hearts a little bit that Los Angeles moved up three places to 44th.

Here are the top ten cities and their scores, 100 being the highest possible: Vancouver (98.0), Melbourne (97.5), Vienna (97.4), Toronto (97.2), Calgary (96.6), Helsinki (96.2), Sydney (96.1), Perth (95.9), Adelaide (95.9), Auckland (95.6).

There’s a flight to Calgary leaving JFK at 2:45 — we can still make it.

Vancouver still world’s most liveable city: survey [Reuters]

Vancouver Wins World Beauty Pageant (Sorry, Contestant No. 56)