Manchester has beaten London to the title of the UK’s most liveable city, in the latest annual rankings by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit.
The study took into account five main categories: Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure.
The UK’s ‘second city’ extended its lead over the capital from last year, placing 35th out of 140 cities worldwide. There is a now a gap of 13 places between the two cities – the widest since the inaugural rankings back in the 1990s.
The EIU summarised that Manchester provided “marginally fewer obstacles to people’s lifestyle, and the threat of terrorism and petty crime are lower”, compared to the capital.
London was said to “suffer from higher levels of crime, congestion, and public transport problems than are deemed comfortable.”
Despite this, research by Your Housing Group, published in May this year found Manchester to rank below Liverpool in its Northern Powerhouse Liveability Index.
The report focused on different factors, including opportunity, desirability, availability, and finally affordability, an area in which Manchester ranked behind its North-western neighbour.
Controversially, it was suggested that the city would fall victim to the emerging trend of terrorist incidents affecting cities’ performances in the EIU’S stability category. The Manchester Arena attack had been blamed for the city’s decline in the 2017 Index.
However, Editor of the report, Roxana Slavcheva, praised the city’s response in the face of terror, saying: “Manchester also represents a regional trend over the past year, where there have been notable improvements in security in several western European cities which have shown resilience in their recovery from terrorist attacks.”
Elsewhere in the rankings, Vienna displaced Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city – the first time in seven years that the Australian city has not topped the findings.
The Austrian capital boasts a near-perfect 99.1 rating, just 0.7 points ahead of 2nd place. However, there is strong Australian representation with Sydney and Adelaide also in a top 10 that includes just two European cities.
War-torn Syrian capital, Damascus, ranking just 30.7, failed to escape the tag of the world’s least liveable city, with conflict and domestic disorder dominating the worst-ranked areas.
Furthermore, the 2018 findings represented a somewhat regression in liveability overall, with an extract from the index’s overview confirming that “49% (of cities) registered negative changes in their overall liveability rank in the past six months.”