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Asia Minute: Best Regional Cities for Quality of Life

Nova / Flickr
Nova / Flickr

Honolulu has made the top forty in a list of the world’s cities ranked by quality of life. As with other measures, this is a very unscientific list—but it includes a number of cities in the Asia Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

You can judge these lists of cities and quality of life at your own discretion.  Various groups produce them: this one is from Mercer Consulting, which specializes in relocating corporate expatriates.  “Quality of life” can be a nebulous concept—Mercer has a range of criteria from crime rates and public services to natural environment, recreation and “socio-cultural environment.”

The top spots go to European cities—Vienna and Zurich lead the way.  In the Asia Pacific, New Zealand and Australia top the list—Auckland is number three in the world, while Sydney is 10th, Wellington is 12th and Melbourne is 15th.  Singapore is Southeast Asia’s top contender—at number 26.  On the other side of the Pacific, San Francisco is the top U-S city at number 28.  Honolulu is 35—just below Boston, but ahead of Chicago and New York.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo is 44 and Hong Kong is 70.  Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul don’t even crack the top 100.  The Economist Intelligence Unit does its own “livability rankings” of world cities each year.

The most recent version puts Honolulu ahead of Singapore but well behind the global leaders.  Half of the top ten are in Australia and New Zealand.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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