Worlds Most Liveable City is NOT Brisbane?

Since I’ve been writing this blog, whenever a new Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Survey comes out, I have always written about it here.

I think I’ve written enough about this survey to no longer need to explain it, so here’s the latest top 10 as at August 2012

  1.  Melbourne, Australia
  2.  Vienna, Austria
  3.  Vancouver, Canada
  4.  Toronto, Canada
  5.  Calgary, Canada
  6.  Adelaide, Australia
  7.  Sydney, Australia
  8.  Helsinki, Finland
  9.  Perth, Australia
  10.  Auckland, New Zealand

So, four from Australia, one in New Zealand, three from Canada and then one each from Austria and Finland. We haven’t done bad down this part of the world, have we?

Brisbane's South Bank Parklands

Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands

Movers and shakers from Australia are Adelaide up 3 places to joint fifth with Sydney and Perth dropping down one place to 7 & 9 respectively. Melbourne though, remain in the top slot, whilst Brisbane has managed to squeeze back in to the top 20, in 20th position, up one place from last year.

Looking back at my old stomping ground, London has slipped down to 55th position from 53rd last year and its position of 51st from my first post on the subject.

Australia’s liveable cities

The biggest surprise here, which seems to be causing quite a stir in these parts, (I mean Brisbane) is how come we are so low down? Personally, out of all the cities there are in the world, I’ll settle for 20th.

After all, we don’t want everyone knowing how great it is here in Brisbane.

I’m too polite to use the word bunkum (how ever much I love that word) to describe this survey. Besides, it would be hypocritical of me to do so after all the trumpeting I gave it when Brisbane was 16th. The survey though, does have its shortcomings, as I’ve mentioned in other posts.

The biggest alarm here appears to surround how Adelaide can be higher than Brisbane…

“After all, if you want to live in a cemetery, live in Adelaide.” Jim Kennedy, well-known Brisbane company director.

Bit harsh!

Queensland’s richest person Clive Palmer didn’t like the idea of Adelaide being more liveable than Brisbane either.

“I find that very hard to believe,” he said.

I must admit, I do too.

I’m not bashing Adelaide, I loved the place when I was there, I wrote about that in my post called At Last. A Hot and Sunny Day in Australia. It’s just that I prefer Brisbane.

So come on, let’s big the place up. Here’s Brisbane! Looky at the beauty…

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Lilliy September 3, 2017, 4:46 pm |

    but what makes Brisbane a un-livecity???

    • BobinOz September 4, 2017, 7:14 pm |

      Brisbane IS very liveable, it just didn’t make the world top 10. It was placed in 20th position, not bad and certainly not unlivable. I love the place.

  • RaoulDuke66 September 11, 2012, 12:42 am |

    All you need to do is stick on Mad Max II and look for paradise being pointed out on the map.

  • tom September 5, 2012, 9:58 pm |

    I really hate to be picky,but I just cant feel sorry for any of you folks Down Under.We have just about finished one of the nicest summers in my 73 years here in Wisconsin.We also had a record breaking mild winter.But now comes the new one.Expecting very cold,being 20 to 30 belows ,and lots of snow.Its not always winter fun either.I have always enjoyed Australia on my 3 trips there.They were all different times of the year so that I got a good idea of your seasons. Believe me,youve got it good. Thank you again Bob. Tom.

    • BobinOz September 6, 2012, 1:24 pm |

      Winter, ah yes, I remember winters.

      Here in Brisbane spring has only just begun, yet already today we’ve got 27°C, that’s about 80°F. Only another three months until summer!

  • Rupert August 29, 2012, 4:42 pm |

    Have you been to For just $5 a month you can have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed on your computer. You will then have access to LIVE BBC and ITV plus catch-up sites like BBC iPlayer, itv Player, 4OD, Demand 5 and even US channels! And if you want to watch it on your telly, just buy a cable that goes from your computer to your TV – in my case Mac Thunderbolt to HDMI. It’s too easy. I don’t know what channel the football’s on though Bob, so it might not be for you, but for those of us who miss a bit of British telly, it ain’t half bad.

    • BobinOz August 30, 2012, 7:30 pm |

      It looks good, but where I live we have a notoriously slow Internet connection. I know I’d be staring at spinning circles and stuttering TV programmes, I assume everything is streamed?

      Also, the football is on Sky TV in the UK for all the live games, so I would not be able to see any games in full, I’d probably just get Match of the Day from the BBC.

      Interesting site though, but I think I’ll stick with my Foxtel.

  • BobinOz August 29, 2012, 4:33 pm |

    I’m still trying to get my head round the idea of a life without Foxtel. How would I get to watch the football?

    Anyway, this kind of thing proves why these surveys really are a waste of time. Kat doesn’t like Brisbane (too hot) and Rupert doesn’t like Brisbane either, for a whole bunch of reasons and yet I love it here. On the other hand, neither Kat (it’s hell) or I (too crowded) like Sidney, yet Rupert loves it there.

    It always helps to hear other opinions, but the only way to find out if you will really like a city is to try it.

  • Rupert August 28, 2012, 10:56 pm |

    Gosh Kat, you really don’t like Sydney do you? Maybe because it’s full of irregular people like me, eh? 😉

    Sydney is expensive, yes, but where isn’t these days? Calcutta? Sao Paolo? Hull? The only reason I can afford to live in the North Shore because I rent. Only a fool would buy property in the current climate and I’m paying the same here as I was paying in London. Melbourne is just as expensive by the way, so don’t get your hopes up too much.

    I use the bus most days and find it faster, cleaner and cheaper than London buses. And on the occasions when I use the car, I’m amazed at how much free parking there is. And petrol is so much cheaper than the UK. Also, I don’t understand why you’re moaning about inadequate public transport. You could always do some research before you move somewhere, and move where the public transport links are adequate for your needs. Everywhere’s the same. Public transport is never going to be Virgin Upper Class is it? The London Underground is disgusting, the Paris Metro smells of urine, and the New York Subway is a a toilet. There isn’t any public transport at all in Los Angeles! Do you really think Melbourne’s going to be so much better?

    Coffee? There are hundreds of fantastic baristas in Sydney too – and I’m a coffee snob, so let’s not go there. But then again, I live in the North Shore and work near all the cool and trendy places in the Inner West, so lucky me, right?

    I hardly ever watch TV anyway – it’s all crap – so apart from two or three channels (which are more than enough), I stick with box-sets and movies – or that new thing that might catch on called the INTERNET!

    I also find Sydney MUCH cleaner than London. And I find it a city FULL of love! It’s no good complaining people don’t say “G’day” anymore, unless you say it first. Try it some time – people are lovely. In London, they’d think you’d been let out of the asylum, or they’d pull a knife on you and ask for your iPhone “innit blood.”

    When all is said and done, I guess you get out what you put in. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are – if you smile, the world smiles with you. Cities are cities. There will always be rude people and bad infrastructure and graffiti and poverty and homelessness and filth, BUT… you will see what you choose to see, so once again I refer to my four rules – they really do work.

    Good luck in Melbourne.

  • Kat August 28, 2012, 9:15 pm |

    Thanks Rupert. Sadly most of us regular people can’t afford the likes of the north shore. I hope you manage to retain your enthusiasm for Sydney once you’ve lived here a little longer. I was born here and although I’ve been here two and a half years now and can see some good aspects, for the most part I find Sydney pretty awful. It’s very expensive, public transport is inadequate, infrastructure isn’t well maintained, and the city is a toilet. The BBC is far superior to any Australian broadcaster, and while I agree ABC and SBS are great, having to be satisfied with two channels isn’t really that great. Don’t get me wrong, Australia has lots going for it but Sydney isn’t one of those things. No love in this city. Hence why we’re planning to move to Melbourne next year. Better coffee, better food, more culture, and no humidity! 🙂

  • Kat August 27, 2012, 4:28 pm |

    Yes, good points re. the temperature debate. I realise now reading what I wrote that I should have emphasised that I am not a hot weather person and actually prefer winter, or at least I would be very depressed if I lived somewhere that doesn’t have a cold winter. Maybe it is due to having grown up in Canberra where there are defined seasons and crisp, bright, cold winters.

    I’ve been to Brissy probably half a dozen times and always found the heat in summer a bit much. Everyone I know who lives there loves it though, so it’s obviously got lots going for it. I just personally couldn’t live somewhere that never gets colder than 15 degrees but I’m sure I’m in the minority with this preference!

    Yes that’s my experience of Adelaide summers too, searing dry heat. Very intense but I think I prefer it over humidity. Again, probably because it’s what I got used to growing up.

    Following your blog now, it’s fascinating to read about another perspective on Aus – my British husband and I have been back here for two and a half years now and we’re still finding it very difficult not to pine for the UK. Even though I’m an Aussie I feel like the culture in the UK is so much richer and more refined and some of the stuff we’re subjected to by the media here is just hideous, quite frustrating. Still, we’re sticking it out for the moment… 🙂

    • Rupert August 27, 2012, 4:57 pm |

      Hey Kat, I’ve been living in Sydney’s North Shore for two and half months and I’m not pining for the UK one bit. We have met refined and charming Australians and have found Sydney to be a city rich in culture – with amazing restaurants, super friendly people and fantastic weather! As for your comments about the media, while I wholeheartedly agree with you – it’s exactly the same in the UK, if not worse.

      So, here are a few rules to alleviate your frustrations, which I hope will help:
      Rule 1 – Don’t subscribe to Foxtel.
      Rule 2 – Don’t watch any other channel apart from ABC and SBS.
      Rule 3 – Don’t buy a newspaper, ever!
      Rule 4 – At least three times a day, look at the blue sky, feel the sun on your skin, and listen to the kookaburras laughing in the jacaranda trees.

      I hope you and your husband can stick it out for a while longer. All the best… 🙂

  • Kat August 26, 2012, 1:37 am |

    Um, yeah, I was going to mention the heat. Brisbane is just too bloody hot. Although saying that, Adelaide gets pretty hot in summer too, I guess the difference is that at least it has seasons. If you’re cool with endless humid summer then Brisbane is the way forward. Oh and the other problem with Brisbane is that it’s in Queensland…

    But all that biased judgment aside, the survey is pretty much a load of rubbish. It depends on what individuals value in a city. The only reason I haven’t moved back to the UK is because there’s not that much space to bring up kids and the weather doesn’t match it’s awesome winters with equally awesome summers. Others think Sydney is paradise but for me it’s hell with a few nice beaches and a pretty harbour. No survey can account for personal preference and values.

    • BobinOz August 27, 2012, 1:17 pm |

      Well, as I’ve just mentioned to Rupert, I don’t agree with the “endless humid summer” tag for Brisbane. I’ve been here for five summers now, I think the hottest one was uncomfortable for about five weeks max. That’s when it is really quite humid and very sticky, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep.

      But some summers, that uncomfortable feeling has only lasted for two or three weeks. For most of the summer, the temperature is 32°C and not overly humid, I regard that as fantastic weather. I don’t miss winter, and if I do, I can go to Tasmania or even Melbourne.

      I sometimes wonder if it’s just me, maybe I am very tolerant of humidity? Or on other occasions I wonder if some people have just ‘heard’ that Brisbane is too hot and humid, and therefore just think it’s the case. Only asking, but how many summers have you spent in Brisbane Kat? Rupert?

      I spent one summer (just a week) in Adelaide and it was very hot indeed, but a really dry heat, the kind that dries out your skin so you look like a dried prune. Not that I’m trying to start an interstate war here 🙂

  • Rupert August 25, 2012, 3:40 pm |

    Being completely objective and unbiased, it might be that Brisbane lacks a few things that Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide can shout about.

    A milder climate: Brisbane can get very hot in the summer and has suffered from adverse weather the likes of which, debatably, have not really been seen in the other three cities.

    Wine regions: let’s face it – Brisbane’s soil and climate are not terribly wine friendly, while the other cities can boast fantastic wine tourism that Brisbane cannot.

    History and Culture: Brisbane is relatively new and just doesn’t ‘feel’ like a city that ticks all the boxes as far as architecture, museums and cultural diversity go. The arts scene is nowhere newer as interesting or prolific as the other cities and the music scene is comparatively lacking also.

    Finally, the Gold Coast is an issue. It is a satellite of Brisbane (let’s be honest) and the two seem to merge into one, which isn’t a good thing when one is discussing liveability. Surfer’s Paradise is horrid and the Gold Coast has some of the worst crime in Australia. It’s a cross between Miami and Benidorm and therefore will never score highly in a liveability survey.

    However, you’re right – it’s all a load of bunkum – and as long as we are happy where we live, who cares what some journalist thinks?

    • BobinOz August 27, 2012, 1:07 pm |

      Hi Rupert

      Some good points, although I regard Brisbane’s climate as a positive, ignoring the adverse weather conditions we have suffered recently of course. Summers are great, I don’t think they are too hot at all and winters are fantastic. It’s 24°C right now with unblemished blue skies. Marvellous!

      Wine? I can get all I need from Dan Murphy’s or First Choice 🙂

      As for the Gold Coast, it’s a city in its own right, nothing to do with Brisbane at all. I’m not putting the place down, just making it clear that it is separate from Brisbane, so I can’t let you have that one.

      I love it here, and as you say, that’s all that matters really. This survey isn’t going to make any difference, but it does give us something to talk about.



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