Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

The best value cities to live?

12 March 2015

There’s nothing more emotionally charged than the concept of home.  With everyone expressing an opinion about their ideal spot on Earth, any survey into the best of the best is likely to be a seven-billion way tie for first place.

Tokyo, Toronto, Stockholm and Santiago.  As cities go, they might be as different as sushi from pickled herrings, but they’ve all got something in common.

There’s probably a song or two about each, but these disparately divergent cities share one homogeny - they each topped their respective continental polls in the Safe Cities Index 2015, as complied with befittingly scientific detail by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

For anyone familiar with that old adage ‘New York run by the Swiss’, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that Toronto tops the poll of polls as best worldwide city overall. Not that Toronto tops any one poll.  In fact, Zurich out Swisses Toronto on every measure except liveability and cost of living - which proves nothing....- except it’s more expensive to live like the Swiss than it is to be Swiss!  Maybe it’s the cost of importing cuckoo clocks to Canada that does it.

Tokyo comes out tops as the safest city in the world, and will remain so, unless earthquakes are reclassified as a crime, in which case the Japanese megacity and neighbouring Osaka will tumble out of the top ten.

Mumbai and Delhi come out tops for living on the cheap, but also shared mediocre scores for doing business, ranking alongside Moscow, all outside the top fifty.  For deal making heaven, it’s back to Singapore, a Swiss Canton in Asia, closely followed by Zurich, a Swiss Canton in Switzerland.  No surprise that Toronto comes in third.  Obviously the luxury cuckoo clock importing industry is doing well.

They say there are a great many Swiss qualities mirrored in Scotland.  Observance of pedestrian crossing regulations comes to mind for example, along with yodelling in public and living in triple-glazed Alpine chalets.  Even so, while our Scottish cities are maybe not on the scale of London or Los Angeles; Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and revitalised Glasgow have all topped polls among UK cities in recent years.  

Maybe international indices fail to take account of uniquely Scottish city living benefits.  Being able to take a walk between all your main business contacts, for instance, or being able to find a comfy seat in your favourite coffee shop.   If an hour’s drive to the country is what matters on the international index, then maybe the statisticians could try working in an office where a glance out of the window is all that it takes to check out the country or sea view.  Best places to live?  We think we’ve found a few valuable ones closer to home.


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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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