If you’re confused about which city really is the world’s most “liveable” then you’re probably not alone. Vienna and Melbourne have both been awarded the title this year and now a new survey has given Copenhagen the bragging rights.
The Danish capital came out on top in Metropolis Magazine’s annual study, which judges major cities around the world on housing, transportation, sustainability and culture. Berlin came second and Helsinki third. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the high cost of housing and transport, no British city featured in the top ten.
Copenhagen was praised for its public amenities, environmental ethos and transport infrastructure, which has a strong emphasis on cycling.
“For the average Dane, cycling is not a display of athleticism but a part of everyday life,” said the report. “Today almost 45 per cent of Copenhagen’s population commutes by bike, a result of efforts on the part of the city to enhance infrastructure through the Bicycle Strategy.”
The Bicycle Strategy is an initiative to make Copenhagen the world’s best cycle city, and the cornerstone of this project has been the Cykelslangen, or “Bicycle Snake”, an elevated orange cycle lane that wends its way around the harbour.
The initiative is part of a wider project to make Copenhagen the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, which the authorities hope to achieve by erecting wind farms, improving energy efficiency and promoting green transport.
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Second-placed Berlin was praised by the report for its pioneering tech centres, which have attracted some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, such as Twitter and SoundCloud.
New legislation, aimed at keeping rents affordable in Berlin, was also commended.
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“A new law restricting the rental of whole apartments via Airbnb — the catchily titled Zweckentfremdungsverbot — went into effect in May,” noted the repot. “Following the imposition of citywide rent controls in June 2015, it is the latest attempt to curb rental costs.”
Helsinki, World Design Capital 2012, made third place thanks to its efforts to promote the sharing economy, end private car ownership and curb house prices.
“Helsinki is nothing if not ambitious,” said the report. “While other capitals struggle with rising housing costs, Helsinki is undertaking large-scale building to contain upward price trends for current and future residents.”
The Finnish capital has a population of 600,000 and aims to provide a minimum of 6,000 new residential units per year.
Metropolis Magazine’s report contradicts two similar surveys conducted by the Economist and the consultancy firm, Mercer, which crowned Melbourne and Vienna, respectively, as the world’s most “liveable” city.
In its annual health check of the world’s major cities, the Economist looked at stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
Mercer meanwhile compared cities on their political, social and economic climate, medical care, education and infrastructural conditions such as public transportation, power and water supply.