In terms of choosing a city to live in, multiple factors play a role. Such determinants include stability, healthcare, culture, infrastructure, and culture and environment. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) - a research and analysis division - recently released its "liveability" report, ranking 140 cities based on these factors.
Titled "The Global Liveability Index 2019," the report details which cities are the most and least liveable around the world. Each city is assessed based on the five categories mentioned above. There are also qualitative indicators that add to the overall rating.
For the second consecutive year, the Austrian capital of Vienna outranked all others as the most liveable city in the world, scoring a near-perfect 99.1 out of 100. The Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney came next respectively, followed by Osaka (Japan) and Calgary (Canada).
The top 10 most liveable cities includes no Arab cities
Though no Arab cities have previously come up in the report's top 10, one would assume to see Dubai or Abu Dhabi higher up in the rankings this year. On the bright side, both emirates have been named as the most liveable cities in the MENA region — for the third year in a row.
Overall, Dubai ranked No. 70, four spots up from its ranking in 2017. It's not so surprising to see the two Gulf cities beat their MENA counterparts as the UAE has been racking up titles for years. In 2019 alone, it was named the "least corrupt in the Arab world," "the happiest in the region," and "the No.1 mover among Arab countries."
But, it's quite unfortunate that not one Arab city made it to the top 10 this year. What's even worse is the fact that three Arab cities made it to the 10 least liveable cities in the world. Credit goes to political turmoil, instability, corruption, wars — need we say more?
The Algerian city of Algiers got a score of 44.1 out of 100, ranking 135th globally. Libya's capital, Tripoli, received an even worse score. The city ranked 137th globally.
The least liveable city in the world is Damascus
The civil war in Syria has taken a toll on the lives of millions of people. It has also shattered the country's economy. Above all, the war has destroyed Syria as we used to know it. Though the city of Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world, was not affected as much as other parts of Syria, the war has taken a toll on its stability, infrastructure, and living conditions as a whole.
Damascus is the city where the Silk Road once passed and kingdoms prospered, where Nizar Qabbani dwelled and was inspired, where Fairouz stood and sang while the war raged next door. It's where culture, history, life, and love will never cease — though such reports remind us of the grim reality.