Once again, Vancouver has been ranked as the world's most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. 140 cities are assigned scores from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. Vancouver scored 98 out of a maximum 100, as it has done for the past two years. Melbourne in Australia was second with a score of 97.5.


Three of the top five cities are Canadian and four of the top 10 are from Australia, perhaps indicating that cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density fare best using the criteria of this report.


However, as I am sure the reader will have realised the cost of housing, the cost of living (food and petrol/gasoline), the transport system, and climate are not taken into account in this 'liveability' report, which to my mind is a major omission "“ what's the point of having great health care, for example, if I can't afford a decent house, have to live two hours from my place of work, and there's no public transport alternative? How liveable is a city if people are paying 70% of their gross earnings towards a mortgage?


A more meaningful evaluation of Vancouver can be found in MoneySense's fifth annual ranking of Canada's Best Places to Live, which places Vancouver 29th out of 179 cities. Moneysense's evaluation criteria included climate, affordable housing, prosperity, ease of travel, and good health care. This report also rewards cities that show healthy growth, but aren't sprawling out of control. Ottawa came top of these rankings.


Traveler JulianJulian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734