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Manchester more livable than Rome, New York and London

Jonathan Schofield on an impartial report making us the meaning of life

Written by . Published on February 22nd 2011.

Manchester more livable than Rome, New York and London

‘Manchester la-la-lah, Manchester la-la-lah’.... as the City song goes. ‘Oh Manchester is wonderful’...as United sing.

According to one of those think-tank thingys we’re pretty good. Manchester that is.

But that doesn’t matter, what does matter – before the natural cynicism, sometimes depressing cynicism, of some of our fellow citizens sets in – is that this was an impartial third party survey by people with nothing to gain by the results.

The city came 42nd on a ‘liveability’ ranking of 140 major cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit. This puts us 11 places higher than London. And better than Rome, New York, Madrid and all those other perfect weekend break destinations. But then this is a ‘liveability’ measure, not a tourism one.

The judgement was based on five categories with Manchester doing well on culture and environment. We scored 96.5 out of 100 overall on those two lovely things.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Jon Copestake, the survey’s editor, said: “In many countries you find that all the culture is in the capital but that isn't the case in Britain. Manchester may not have London's high cuisine or the West End but it is home to one of the world's largest sports teams in Manchester United, it has the legacy of the Commonwealth Games and it has a proven record of a vibrant individual culture.”

On education and healthcare we gained 91.7 points. We were less good on crime, ‘the threat of terrorism’, transport and housing.

A particularly salient point is that we were still two points below the average for Western Europe, 90 as against 92. Vancouver came top of the survey with 98, Harare bottom with an unlivable 37.5.

At Confidential we’re thinking that the survey must refer to the travel to work area for Manchester rather than the strict administrative area of the city. But that doesn’t matter.

What does matter – before the natural cynicism, sometimes depressing cynicism, of some of our fellow citizens sets in – is that this was an impartial third party survey from people with nothing to gain from the results.

Well except the $500 they want you to pay for the full document.

Two last points.

Given the mention of Manchester United by Mr Copeland, we wonder if he was inspired by the United song mentioned at the top of this story. Or at least the city’s characteristics mentioned in the song (click here). Please don’t listen if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

Finally that global position.

Number 42. Isn’t that the meaning of life? Or at least according to the late author, Douglas Adams. Forget liveabilty, it goes deeper than that.

How it’s measured
This comes from Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey: 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, from benchmarking perceptions of development levels to assigning a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. Each city is assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories:

- Stability
- Healthcare
- Culture and environment
- Education
- Infrastructure

Each factor in each city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points. The categories are compiled and weighted to provide an overall rating of 1-100, where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal. The report considers that any city with a rating of 80 or more will have few, if any, challenges to living standards.

Follow JonathanSchofield on twitter @JonathSchofield

The gorgeous picture of Manchester comes from Andrew Brooks and his exhibition, New Worlds. 18 Feb-3 March, free entry, everyday 10am – 6pm. The Hive, 49 Lever Street, City, M1 1FN. www.thehivemanchester.com

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Key paragraph hereFebruary 22nd 2011.

'What does matter - before the natural cynicism, sometimes depressing cynicism, of some of our fellow citizens sets in - is that this was an impartial third party survey from people with nothing to gain from the results.'

nothing to gainFebruary 22nd 2011.

...doesn't make it right

D KesslerFebruary 22nd 2011.

please please please just stick to trusted indicators as the HDI or HDI (inequality adjusted). Britain not in the top 20 of nations in either of them, I am afraid

DescartesFebruary 22nd 2011.

This sounded like a really interesting report until you mentioned areas are rated on 'the threat of terrorism', at which point I realised it's just another meaningless batshit report that just wants me to be scared when I leave the house.

I'm assuming London is more likely to have a terrorist attack than Manchester and so must get more negative points for this? What happens in 12 months when nothing has happened in either place, do we get plus points next time around for time since last attack? Maybe they could use the £500 to sponsor a clock at Piccadilly to advise us when we were last scared.

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2011.

Why are they selling it to us in dollars and not pounds sterling?

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2011.

All of London's BBC staff will be asking to move up here when they hear about this survey.

Smyth HarperFebruary 23rd 2011.

So Manchester is slightly more liveable than Simon Binns is influential in the Twitterverse... I'm sure they are linked.

I always like it when reports and studies confirm our belief that Manchester is great - it gives our swagger an air of science. Like Nanette Newman at a sink.

Philip RogersFebruary 23rd 2011.

Not the slightest bit surprised that outsiders are starting to discover our great city and reporting so in a non biased way. The days of 'there´s no life north of Watford' and 'Its grim up North' are surely coming to an end - unless of course you read the Daily Mail!

Burt CodeineFebruary 23rd 2011.

...and that fantastic, vital image of the city should be the thing we use in promotional bumf...not pics of the Town Hall from the 80's, or staid images of Central Library on a Monday morning...

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2011.

Am reminded of something, I read recently, about the delights of (Greater) Manchester (Let's remember many of these lie in the conurbation, but outwith the boundaries of the City Authority ; eg Salford Quays, IWMN, Old Trafford etc......)...Went something like, if this city were abroad, Southerners would be flocking to in in droves.....!!!

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