Len’s got some competition for the world’s most liveable city


Len Brown has some competition for his dream of Auckland being the most liveable city…and from China no less.

Chinese internet users have mocked a report claiming that Beijing is the country?s most liveable city even as they enjoy unusually blue skies in the lead-up to a major military parade.

China?s capital city ranked 69th out of the world?s 140 most liveable cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit?s (EIU) semi-annual survey, released this week.

The city was ranked higher than any other Chinese city, just ahead of neighbouring Tianjin where a massive explosion last week has left a toxic aftermath in its port area.

?Best joke of the week,? said one user of Weibo, China?s Twitter.

?Did they get extra points for all the smog?? asked another wag. ??

The news came at the same time as new research, also published in the Economist, showed that breathing Beijing?s air is the equivalent of smoking almost 40 cigarettes a day.

Berkeley Earth?s scientific director, Richard Muller, told the magazine that air pollution causes 1.6 million deaths a year in China, or 17% of the total.

?How ironic is this?? another Weibo user asked in response to the survey. ?Perhaps the news should have been published on 1 April.?

But Jon Copestake, editor of the EIU survey, said pollution was just one of more than 40 indicator scores that form the overall weighted score for cities.

According to Copestake, many Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai received a score within the 70-80 band which implies day?to?day living is generally fine, but that some aspects of life may entail problems.

?The category that pushes Beijing a bit higher than the others is education ? which I think is a fair reflection of the higher quality institutions here,? said Tom Rafferty, Asia economist for the EIU, in Beijing.

?It also has, I would argue, more cultural options than most other Chinese cities, a wider range of consumer goods and services, better international transport links ? all factors that go into the liveability rating,? he added.

Despite the online scorn, official data analysed by Greenpeace East Asia?s Beijing office indicates the city has actually been experiencing more blue skies this year than in the first half of 2014.

According to the data, Beijing?s average levels of dangerous particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, or PM2.5, has dropped 15.6%.

Right so you can now see the “sky”….and not have to chew the air at the same time.


– The Guardian