Why not so livable!

Melbourne, for six years in a row, remains at the top of the Livability Index, released by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). No Indian city could grab a position in first hundred

Out of 140 cities, New Delhi ranked 110 and Mumbai ranked 115with scores of 58.9 and 56.9 whereas the top ten cities have scored above 95. No other big city of India- Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata –could find a palace in the ranking. Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) surveyed 140 global cities andassigned a rating relative to New York for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

The toppers

Six of the top ten scoring cities are from Australia and Canada. Melbourne topped the list, scoring 100% in three parameters—Healthcare, Education and Infrastructure. Other than Melbourne, only three other global cities; Vienna, Sydney and Perth scored 100 in infrastructural facilities. Viennais known for its women friendly and safe infrastructure. On stability parameter, two of the Canadian cities, Toronto and Calgary scored the highest.

What is Livability?

A city with basic civic amenities and good urban governance is all that is needed to be called as a livable city. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN- Habitat) says that, the character and livability of a city is defined by its streets and public spaces. Livability Index looks at which cities have the best living and worst living conditions.


Why not Indian cities so livable?

Indian cities have performed poorly on different livability indexes. They could not compete with other global cities. At a time when global cities are addressing climate change issues and trying to enable smart technological interventions such as Internet of things for various city activities, Indian cities are struggling to provide basic services such as water and electricity.
According to a paper on Urban Water Supply and Sanitation by Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), only 49 per cent of households in urbanIndia have access to piped water supply within their premises. One of the studies of UN in 2016 says that India’s most prestigious metropolises are neither lovable nor livable. The reasons could be many; and air quality could be one of them.
World Health organization (WHO) recommends that PM2.5 should be kept below 10 as an annual average, while New Delhi has an annual average of 122. According to the report by the WHO, New Delhi is the 11th worst polluted city in the world.
Mayors of London and Paris are working smartly to curb air pollution of their cities by implementing several measures like promoting public transit and levying ‘toxicity charges’. Even after the enactment of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA), mayors do not enjoy much decision making power relating to policy change. Financial decisions are not in their hands and in addition Indian cities don’t have fixed tenure of Mayors. In some cities like in Chandigarh, they serve only for a year.

Other Livability Scales

There are several other reports on livability which give similar results for Indian cities.Mercer’s 19thQuality of Living survey assessed 230 cities globally in 2017. Cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi ranked above 140.
The 2016 Cities in Motion Index (Barcelona-based University of Navarra’s IESE Business School and the Centre for Globalisation and Strategy) ranked these cities low on most parameters for a “smart, livable city”. Out of 181 cities, New Delhi came in at 174, followed by Bengaluru at 176 and Kolkata at 179. Mumbai (167) ranked better than them, while Lagos and Karachi came in at 180 and 181.The parameters for the survey were governance, international outreach, mobility and transportation.

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