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Vancouver Named World's Most Livable City

First the Fraser Institute was named Canada's top "Think Tank" and among the best of 25 Think Tanks in the world. Now Vancouver has been named the world's most livable city. At this rate, I suppose that soon it will be named the driest city on the continent. Who is making these judgments, a Queensland politician? Here's a tip. Before you rave about Vancouver, try living there on an average wage. Good luck.

Too expensive to live in

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. If Vancouver is the king of cities, it only slows how much the world's cities have been degraded by noise, crime, pollution, traffic gridlock, unaffordable housing, homelessness, growing wealth disparity and other attributes which drove me out of Vancouver. Show me a city that works. And if you're a Premier from Queensland try actually living in Vancouver rather than taking a few days of sightseeing and restaurant-going and then running home to tell Australians lies about how Vancouver "the model city" is "managing" growth. You'll find that spectacular scenery wears kind of thin after a while--especially if you earn the average wage. You can't eat "diversity" or "vibrancy" or anything else on the buffet of growthist cant that realtors and politicians dish out.

If Population growth is a Ponzi Scheme, Vancouver is the biggest casino in Canada

Last month a 450 sq. ft. condo sold for $302,000 and the units at the Olympic village are selling for 500,000 to one million a piece. A lot of dough for little box with a view. A derelict house on a 66 foot lot on the west side, meanwhile, sold for $1.9 million and taxes for bungalow on a 33 foot lot in Dunbar run at $7,000 a year in Dunbar. No wonder Vancouver homeowners spend 70% of their income on mortgage payments. But no worries---if you are a developer or property speculator. Immigration ensures that 30,000 newcomers---many of them rich Chinese---are pouring into the city each year, with an additional 30,000 coming from other provinces, 20% of whom are also foreign-born. Population growth is a Ponzi scheme, and Vancouver is the biggest casino in Canada. Soon the bubble will burst, and as usual, it will be the ordinary people at the bottom who will be left holding the bag. In a post carbon Canada, viable cities will not exceed 20,000 people. These vast urban feed lots that have popped up like tumours in the Age of Exuberance will come to resemble mausoleums and ghost towns.

Escaping from the Prison city of Vancouver

I left this most "livable" city nearly 7 years ago, and two brief visits "home" in that period confirmed the wisdom of my decision to leave. The irony is that as a visitor, I enjoyed more of Vancouver's amenities than I did as a resident, when, like other Vancouverites, I was too damn exhausted working to pay for the cost of living in this 'model' city to have the time or money to avail myself of them. Telling me that life in Vancouver is better than life in Sydney, Auckland or Albequerque is like telling an inmate in a correctional facility that he has the best cell in the joint. I spent twenty-five years planning my escape and now that I have had a taste of small town rural living, I wonder why I waited so long to get here.

Tim Murray
February 2011

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According to their web page, The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. Like The Economist, we are independent of all governing bodies and corporations, leaving us free to deliver accurate and impartial business intelligence.

This sounds like the Committee of Melbourne, the KMPG or any of the "not for profit" groups pushing for developments and growth.

Vancouver (Canada) sits at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking , a position that can only have been cemented by the successful hosting of the 2010 winter Olympics and Paralympics, which provided a boost to the infrastructure, and culture and environment categories. Those of us who actually live there and know the place chortled. (see article below).

This would have created enormous benefits for investors and property developers.

In another survey, Vienna again was named as the ‘best’ city in the world, with the Austrian capital’s perennial Swiss rivals, Zurich and Geneva, following close behind. Overall, German-speaking cities occupy six places in the top ten in 2010 Quality of Living Survey by

Mercer Consulting.
Vancouver remained equal 4th with Auckland.

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. It doesn't mention housing affordability, lifestyles, crime, accessibility to parklands and green wedges, congestion, utility prices, or the rating of those living there!

The rating of "ideal" is surely subjective without community input, and without considering the above essential "details", and heritage values.

Another article, dated 1 Mar 11, by Brian Hutchison of the National Post says that Vancouver is the world's most liveable city, if you ignore the drugs and crime!

Visiting a city is not the same as living there. A city without unity, community, a common heritage and "heart" is cold and functional only.

Bandicoot nailed it. Visiting a city is not the same as living there. Pity that Bandicoot is not running the authoritive rating agency that would incorporate the views of people actually trying to make a living in these cities. Having the Economist determine a city's livability is like having Marie Antionette rate soup kitchens. BTW, plaudits to Sheila Newman for supplying the appropriate illustrations and photo. Her input is always give a new dimension to an argument.

Want a Vancouver drug crime anecdote? Try this. While away overseas for 8 months, my roomate "Rob" bought speciality car parts for his Lotus Super 7 parked in my garage. The parts were shipped if four large boxes or crates to Vancouver International Airport, where they awaited Rob's return to Canada. When he arrived, he signed for them, and they were delivered to my back yard, 20 miles from the airport. As I was sleeping that hot afternoon, Rob did not want to disturb me so he left them there for the duration of the day. When I awoke an hour later, I found them in my basement, and thought nothing of it. I left the house and returned at 8:30 pm to find the boxes opened and the front door wide open. I closed it believing that Rob had come and gone again, but forget to shut the door. I also noticed that the window to his bedroom was open, with the latch broken. The following day, he thanked me for bringing the boxes in and opening them. When I told him that I had no part in it, we checked the boxes and found all the parts still in them. We could not understand why anyone would pry open the window--in full view of the street---walk into a room strewn with cash, cameras and electronics, ignore them, go downstairs, open the door, carry in four heavy boxes, open them up, and take nothing. But the RCMP connected the dots. The thieves followed Rob home, and when he left, they were desperate enough to walk the through the house, and carry in the boxes, which they knew had drugs of great value placed in them in England during packaging. The police explained that the Vancouver drug gangs are international in scope, knew of their shipment, and had the patience to wait months for Rob's return to Vancouver, and follow him home. And all of this happened in a medium upscale neighbourhood. Considering the value of the haul, it is a very good thing that the thieves did not wake me up, or I would not be writing this story now. In other words, for me, Vancouver would suddenly have become "un" livable.