URBS 310 – Evaluating Cities

URBS 310
Fall 2017
Paper 1: Criteria for Evaluating Cities
Due: Due Tuesday, September 26 th by midnight. Upload on Moodle.
Minimum of 625 words and maximum of 700 words.
This assignment is intended to help you think about the criteria that can be used to
measure the quality of life of cities. There are many organizations (for example,
government organizations, community-based organizations, magazines) that conduct
annual surveys of the quality of life of cities in the United States and the world. They
typically rank the top 5 or 10 cities based on a particular set of criteria. Here is an
Find three surveys that rank the quality of life of cities in the U.S. and/or the world and
assess these surveys. Specifically:
1. What is the name of the organization conducting the survey?
2. What are the top three cities ranked by each survey?
3. Discuss the criteria they use?
4. Are the criteria similar or different?
5. Are do the same cities appear in the top three for each survey?
6. What do you think about the criteria? Do you agree or disagree?
7. How do you think Los Angeles should rank and why?






Analysis of the Survey of best cities

The quality of life differs from one city to another. The living standard may be valued
according to the economic factors, infrastructure, recreation facilities, security among others.
Many survey companies have carried out a research on quality of life for different cities.
According to the surveys, the European cities have been dominating and are ranked among the
best cities in the world. This paper provides a comprehensive result of three different surveys.
Mercer survey company is a research firm located in New York, and it has branches in
over 130 countries worldwide. Mercer’s authoritative survey is very comprehensive, and it is
conducted annually to enhance the fair compensation of employees from multinational
companies when assigning them to international duties. According to the analysis of the survey
firm, Vienna in Austria occupies the first position. Zurich in Switzerland is the second city with
the high quality of living. The third city Auckland in New Zealand which is a non-European city
makes the top three. According to Slagin Parakatil the principal mercer, the firm used the
following criteria to rank the countries; ease of communication and travel, accessibility to public
services, personal safety, and sanitation standard.
The second survey was conducted by an institution based in London known Economist
Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Livability ranking based in London. The organization carried out a
worldwide research to identify the best place to visit and live. According to the research
conducted by the institution globally, the top three cities are: Vancouver in Canada tops in the

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rank worldwide followed by Melbourne in Australia and thirdly Vienna in Austria. The survey
institution considered factors like infrastructure, education, healthcare, stability, environment,
and culture among others ("City Mayors: Best Cities in the World" 2017). These top cities were
found to have ease of travel and communication, top class recreation centers such as ocean
beaches, living standard is also of recommendable level among other attractive characteristics.
Ceoworld Magazine is the third survey company that has conducted a research and
ranked the cities in the World. The institution ranked the cities globally as follows; Wellington
which is the capital city of New Zealand tops the list as the best city in the world. The city has a
conducive environment for human living ("These 47 Major Cities Have the Highest Quality of
Life in the World, 2017"). Edinburgh in the United Kingdom is the second in the list followed by
Vienna in Austria falling in the third place. The Magazine ranked the cities considering eight
factors which include pollution in the city, purchasing power, traffic commute time, health care,
the price of the properties to income ratio, climate, cost of living and safety.
The three survey institution used different factors to evaluate and rank the cities. Only a
few common factors that were considered while ranking the cities. The first common factor is
Cost of living which is determined by the income of the people in the cities, accessibility of basic
needs such as food, drinks, and clothing. The second common factor used by the three survey
companies is the health and safety issue. The third factor that was considered is ease of travel
and communication. However, many factors were different from one survey to another. Some
institution included the climatic conditions, recreation centers, pollution while other did not. In
general, the three survey agencies used different factors to rank the cities this caused the results
to be contrasting.

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The city ranking was different from one survey institution to the other. In the first survey,
the top-ranked city was Vienna in Austria, in the second survey the city that topped the list was
Vancouver in Canada while in the third survey Wellington in New Zealand top the list.
The three survey used reasonable factors to rank the cities, and I agree with the criteria
applied. However, I would recommend for standardization of this criteria elements so that the
survey can result in a similar outcome.
Los Angeles is a big city in the US and I think should be in the top 20 best cities in the
world. However, the city is ranked among the top 100 cities since the city has a high crime rate.
Los Angeles has affordable living cost, flexible transport and communication networks, easy
access to public services among others.

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Works Cited

"City Mayors: Best Cities in the World." City Mayors: Mayors Running the
World's Cities, 2017, www.citymayors.com/features/quality_survey.html.
"Mercer | Quality of Living Ranking 2017." Mercer | Make Tomorrow, Today,
"These 47 Major Cities Have the Highest Quality of Life in the World,
2017." CEOWORLD Magazine, ceoworld.biz/2017/05/09/these-47-major-cities-have-