Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vancouver - Most Livable City

The votes are in. Vancouver tops the pack. This is all the more interesting, as it is taken from a well-respected business weekly journal. In many ways, I agree, having lived in some other countries before. The scale needs to be seen on a relative scale, as it could mean other cities have gotten worse, rather than Vancouver itself getting better. I think one of the strongest advantages of Vancouver is the widespread acceptance of people from different cultures. Multiculturalism is not only trumpeted but practiced frequently. People do not stare at you with a shirking look if one is of a different skin colour. An American friend of mine commented to me: Everywhere else after Vancouver is downhill. With the Olympics round the corner, this piece of news will make many Vancouverites proud. How do we measure quality of life?
The Economist notes that Vancouver has low crime, little threat from instability or terrorism, and highly developed transportation and communications infrastructures.
As far as the Economist is concerned, low crime, great infrastructure and a general sense of security of not being targeted by terrorists are the main factors used. With the current development of a massive Canada line project, the transportation infrastructure will be given a huge boost.

For me, one of the most important sources of livability has to come from the residents themselves. The current job action is a case in point. In many other countries, people will generally frown at the union members for taking their self-interests above public interest, for fighting for their rights instead of keeping public services open. Instead we have many residents who are willing to tolerate the inconveniences for the sake of respecting the union members' right to strike! Human rights is something of a sacred cow. My concern is that it encourages young Vancouver residents to demand rights before they are able to learn some sense of responsibility. Livable city, maybe. It is the people who makes the city what it is. It can get worse or it can get better. One thing I still marvel at. Even though Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the world, one soon realise that it is possible to live on very little in this most livable city. Many things in Vancouver are available for free, the mountain view, the beaches, the parks, the weather and many aesthetic sights that makes Vancouver city an art to behold. Comparing with Singapore, based on many published articles, and especially the blogsphere, one thing clearly makes Vancouver a starking difference: People in Vancouver do not complain about life as much as Singaporeans.

I cannot help but agree.

- Globe and Mail

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