Melbourne “most liveable” city but …


Melbourne has overtaken Vancouver as the “most liveable” city in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit – but does its survey take into account ecological sustainability and social inclusion?

Four Australian cities and three Canadian cities are in the top 10 list.


1: Melbourne
2: Vienna
3: Vancouver
4: Toronto
5: Calgary
6: Sydney
7: Helsinki
8: Perth
9: Adelaide
10: Auckland

Source: Global Liveability Survey

The survey takes into consideration stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, most likely from the viewpoint of the expat. According to the EIU:

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.

So basically, it started off as a ranking to give expats an idea of which are the most comfortable cities. Before we even think of where Penang or KL stands in the survey, we need to be aware of the survey’s serious limitations. Melbourne for instance has two of the world’s largest mines.

Australian cities may have scored highly in the survey, but the Australian Policy Online website expressed concern last year that “city liveability is being achieved at the expense of ecological sustainability”…

… the world’s most liveable cities are acquiring and retaining their status as a result of participating in a level of resource consumption – by their built environments and their residents – that is ecologically unsustainable under current ‘business as usual’ scenarios of urban development and household resource consumption. Amongst some of the worst offenders around the world are Australia’s capital cities (highlighted in the graph). Each Australian city resident is, on average, requiring six to seven global hectares of land and water to supply all the resources needed to support their current consumption lifestyle. The global ecological footprint is less than three hectares per person on average. Consequently, if all the world’s population aspired to the built environment quality and lifestyle offered to a resident of, say, Melbourne then two and a half planet earths would be required to supply the subsequent demand on resources – as things currently stand.

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Melbourne in one of the most racially intolerable countries is the most livable city in the world?? Have they been to Vancouver???


For 2 to 3 months a year during the summer months, Melbourne with its hot and arid weather qualifies to be among the worst livable cities on earth.


I lived in Melbourne for a few years, and, yes, its a very livable, if rather boring city. I heard its a bit livelier since I was there, but I doubt it has changed that much. Ecological sustainability ? Heheh…all Australian cities are artificial constructs of Western civilisation clinging to the edge of a very dry continent, either semi-desert (e.g. Perth and Darwin) or rather dry scrub (e.g. Melbourne , Sydney). Someday (don’t know when…haha) , in the natural course of events, the whole of Australia will return to the dry, semi-empty land it once was. For the moment, its… Read more »


Adelaide at no 9 in ranking.

if i am not mistaken Adelaide was (or is) the twin city collaboration with Penang during Chong Eu’s era ? Anil pls confirm.

Penang in catch 22 situation : development (concrete jungle) vs eco-environment heritage presevation ? Penangites got to do more than talking/writing to regain the shine of the Pearl ……..


You cannot beat them on the comments of ecology sustainability. The architects want to have buildings with styles. The landscaoe planners wanted to have more green and plantings. more greens and planting means more consumption of H2O. Just look at the old Penang mansions. Big gardens – English gardens better but more demand for water especially those treated using energy and chemicals and now dump back to the soil. Even Sinkapore is garden like and the taxpayers pay gardeners and throwing water along the Bkt Timah Highway and East coast Highway. If concrete jungle complain. if green garden – not… Read more »


there are various hardy plants that require minimum maintenance (eg watering) yet can withstand tropical climate. My friend (Malaysian by the way,another talent absorbed by Spore) who works for Spore Plant & Nursery dept told me they have engineered certain species that are leafy enough to provide shades to pedestrians yet hardy with minimum maintenance – just look at Orchard Road plants. I wonder why our Jabatan Perhutanan or Universiti Pertanian (now UKM ?) not able to do research and advise Msian Town Councils on types of plants to use. Malaysia has many plant experts eg Desmond Ho (of terragarden… Read more »

I think it’s better to get advice from orang asli on which local plant is more suitable for the city.

They may tell you unknown and unnamed plant for you which is better than genetic modified plant.

Fruit trees are better, they provide food for wild animals.


If we have just the green of the trees, how can it be ecologically balanced? Without flowers and bushy plants, there will be no bees, butterflies and other insects. All we see is green. For a first class city, there need to be multi colours too. Melbourne is a first class city because of the wide tramways and plentiful parks and gardens and leafy trees. The native gum greens in Australia are mainly botak. further for traffic safety, the trees will block the line of sight and more people will be injured in the road accidents


Adam & Eve were once put in charge of the most beautiful forest garden on planet earth. With human-friendly animals like the harimau, scented herbal plants, pisang and durian, sweet-smelling Rafflesia, and what have you in your gardens, they eventually gave up this Eden for the Secrets of pleasures and desires beyond what was Man’s entitlement to a simple life of joy, happiness and good health. Going back to the days of Adam and Eve forest garden is still possible if only we desire to make it happen in Penang. Start with Penang Botanic Gardens and Youth Park. BTW, forest… Read more »


Not sure how they award the point, but Vienna is very expensive to stay leh… Adelaide is very pleasant, except during summer! Lots of good restaurant/food, affordable marketing, great wine!! Wonder why Wellington din appear… both Adelaide & Welington were designed by the same architect, definitely the choice for those studying town planning.

6P Alien

Australia’s High Court today blocked Canberra’s plans to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia, saying they could not be sent to a nation where they were not protected by law.


Do these cities hae ‘local plan’ to protect environment e.g. providing green lung, pedestrain-only walkway etc?

If so, Penang civil servants can have excuse for a ‘lawatan sambil belajar’ tour?


Any city where road crossings are also provided for wandering ducks qualifies to be listed among the top 10.

Syiok Syiok

Melbourne with its liberal immigrant policy may face the same consequences of cultural intolerance matters as seen eg in Malmoe Sweden (which open the doors a generation ago) these days ???


Perth City is still the best…my sweet home!


The survey should be conducted by country, and by region, because A most livable City, gut-fill, is My Home City.


We must be loyal to stay put in our country however unliveable it might be today. We must exercise our voting rights to put right the governance in our country.

In the meantime, we must all buy and read the latest book by Kua Kia Soong entitled ‘Patriots & Pretenders’ that aims to put the historical facts in perspective so that the new generation of Malaysians understands the class forces that were arraigned during the anti-colonial struggle and gets to know who the real anti-colonial fighters were.


Quote :
Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly…….

and anywhere can be a lively place