Australia’s infrastructure, medical services and stable politics have contributed to Sydney’s top-10 ranking among the world’s best cities for quality of living.
But the cost of living as well as increased traffic congestion and poor air quality have prevented the city from improving its overall living standards for half a decade.
It’s the fifth year in a row that Sydney’s quality of life ranking has remained stagnant at 10th position in the Mercer 2018 Quality of Living Survey, which ranks 231 cities across the globe.
Vienna received the top honour, followed by other western European cities such as Zurich and Munich.
Sydney offered an attractive economic environment and performed strongly because of its international schools, public services and transport, Mercer’s Market Insights Leader for Australia, Simon Kennedy, said.
But he warned that housing – in terms of both cost and quality – was something Sydney could improve on.
The availability of housing, appliances, furniture and home maintenance was better in Europe, Mr Kennedy said.
This year Sydney city fell behind when it came to traffic congestion, airport access and air quality.
“Air pollution is the number one in terms of metrics that could drive us higher or lower”, Mr Kennedy said.
The survey, which is subjective, ranks cities around the world based on healthcare access, quality of education, the environment, such as traffic congestion and pollution, as well as social and economic conditions.
The marked lack of improvement in Sydney’s quality of living comes as the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced this week a change in tack to her key election-year push, from a focus on the economy to improving the quality of life for both Sydneysiders and those living in regional NSW.
“We are committed to improving quality of life for everyone across NSW,” Ms Berejiklian told Domain.
“Just last weekend we released the State Infrastructure Strategy – a 20-year plan for NSW. This is a plan for NSW to make sure we have jobs and transport infrastructure close to where people live and work.
“It will ensure we have the schools, hospitals and parks in place to support communities’ right across NSW.”
Housing industry experts warned this week that Australia’s housing system was ‘broken’ from decades of failed policies and government inaction, with one in five households spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.
While last week experts called for an end to Sydney’s ‘motorway madness’, with the government coming under fire for spending big on roads rather than increasing investment in public transport and infrastructure which improves cycling and the city’s walkability – and consequently the health of Sydneysiders.
Across Australia, Melbourne ranked 16th in the world, tied with Toronto. All of Australia’s cities ranked within the top 40.
Vienna was found to have the best quality of life for the ninth consecutive year, while Germany had a strong showing, with Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf also ranking in the top 10.
Singapore was the top-ranked city in Asia at 25th, Montevideo at 77th was first in South America, and Dubai came first in the Middle East and Africa, ranked 74th.
The cities where living standards have improved the most in each region over 20 years are Sarajevo in Europe, Dubai in the Middle East, Shanghai in Asia, Maputo in Africa and Havana, Cuba, for the Americas.
China and India have had the biggest increases overall in living standards over the same period in the Asia Pacific region.
Sydney also came in 10 in another recent survey, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Cost of Living Report, which found the harbour city jumped four places to crack the top-10 list of most expensive cities to live in.
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Written by Nicole Frost. Republished with permission of Domain.com.au.