1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Wien, 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
The survey was done again (I believe they do it annually) by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the ranking is based on stability, health care, culture & environment, education and infrastructure. 140 cities were included in this survey, and according to EIU the concept of "liveable" is as follows :
(quote) it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses. The survey originated as a means of testing whether Human Resource Departments needed to assign a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. While this function is still a central potential use of the survey, it has also evolved as a broad means of benchmarking cities. This means that liveability is increasingly used by city councils, organisations or corporate entities looking to test their locations against others to see general areas where liveability can differ. (unquote)
Melbourne has been on top of the list for three years running, and it seems Australia and Canada both are doing something right when it comes to this ranking. It kinda makes you wonder though (or myself at least) how it is possible that there's not one single city here from the U.S., for example....or that only two European cities made the top ten. I haven't registered with EIU so I have no access to the more detailed reports -- I think it's possible to even buy the reports on all 140 countries if you wish. This is intriguing to me, but with no extra cash right now I couldn't get the reports even if I wanted to.
Anyways, I, of course live in Helsinki. I was not born here, but have lived in this city for nine years now, and on a previous stint for two years...so it does feel like home by now. And even though, as you know, I'm forever wanting to relocate back to the States, I do love Helsinki for what it is: a gorgeous Jugend-style city surrounded by the sea, offering excellent and free health care, culture and that thing we don't always remember to appreciate because, well...it's just there: stability. It's cosmopolitan, but it's safe -- and even though I'm no fan of winters, the summers are amazing with the surrounding nature. I live on a small island myself with the bus to city center taking less than 10 minutes; I have both the nature and the city at arm's reach. This past summer particularly I have grown to love my neighborhood more and more after spending so much time outside, be it on the beach or during my walks and runs through the forest and the parks.
Here a few photographs of Helsinki. These are not my pictures, they are all from various tourist pages.