HK livability down - and that's not counting unrest

Local | Charlotte Luo 5 Sep 2019

Hong Kong has slipped three places down a global livability ranking and it is expected to drop further amid the unrest, according to think tank Economist Intelligence Unit.

The 2019 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Livability Report finds Hong Kong to be the 38th livable city in the world, compared to 35th last year.

The cities' livability was assessed by a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors in five categories - stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

The scores are compiled and weighted, with a maximum of 100.

Hong Kong's overall score this year is 91.3, the same as last year. The city scores 95 in stability, 83.1 in culture and environment, 100 in education, 87.5 in health care, and 96.4 infrastructure, also the same as 2018.

The research team told The Standard that Hong Kong's ranking, although with the same score, is three places lower than last year as other cities performed better. The team said the 2019 ranking for Hong Kong does not encompass the recent unrest.

"Hong Kong's score in the latest iteration of the livability index had reflected the diminished attendance at public protests over the initial part of Carrie Lam's administration," said Duncan Innes-Ker, regional director, Asia, at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

"This situation has obviously changed dramatically for the worse, and it is highly likely that the next iteration of the index will see Hong Kong's position slide as a result of the rolling civil unrest that has hit the city since June."

The world's most livable city ranked by EIU is Vienna, Austria, scoring 99.1, followed by Australian cities Melbourne and Sydney, at 98.4 and 98.1 respectively.

Hong Kong is the 10th most livable city in the Asia Pacific this year, falling behind Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Tokyo, Adelaide, Auckland, Perth, Brisbane, and Wellington.

Singapore is ranked 40th.

The team said Singapore scores slightly lower that Hong Kong in the culture and environment categories.

It said Singapore's arts scene is less vibrant, reflecting the greater restrictions on freedom of expression in the city-state.

Singapore has higher levels of media censorship, as well as greater restrictions on public protests, compared to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong also does slightly better than Singapore in diversity of sporting activities, with its country park hiking trails and a generally larger range of outdoor sporting activities, the team added.

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