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The Economist Intelligence Unit: A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview

In its Liveability Rankings, the Economist Intelligence Unit bestows Vancouver with the top honor for the world's most liveable city. The organization considered 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Australia and Canada performed especially well in the ranking.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (3/4/2011)

1. Vancouver, Canada (1/11)


Vancouver ranked highest overall for liveability, earning perfect marks for healthcare, culture and environment, and education. The city is Canada's third-largest metro area and has a highly diversified economy. Industries attracted to the city include everything from performance apparel (fitness clothier lululemon began here) to high tech.

Next: Melbourne

2. Melbourne, Australia (2/11)


Melbourne has proven itself to be a desirable place to live, but it's also aggressively investing in its business community. Little more than a year ago, the city established Enterprise Melbourne to jumpstart economic growth. In that time, it has initiated strategies to attract and retain business, and promoted its knowledge and innovation base, especially in biotech.

Next: Vienna

3. Vienna, Austria (3/11)


While Europe finds itself in financial turmoil, Vienna is maintaining its quality of life and business environment. The banking hub is home to strong insurance and manufacturing industries. Everything from metal products to textiles is produced here. The city is also popular for corporate conventions, which account for a chunk of its tourism industry.

Next: Toronto

4. Toronto, Canada (4/11)


Toronto couples its enviable quality of life with an equally vibrant business climate. The city offers investments to attract business, particularly through its Manufacturing, Innovation, and Technology (MIT) Grants. Manufacturing, biomedical, and information technology are just some of the city's important sectors.

Next: Calgary

5. Calgary, Canada (5/11)


Although honored in this ranking, Calgary isn't resting on its laurels. The city's Business Revitalization Zones (BRZ) are doing just that - improving, beautifying, and maintaining key business neighborhoods. The first BRZ was established in 1984. Since then, eight more have been added. They represent a total 5,400 businesses valued at more than $660 million.

Next: Helsinki

6. Helsinki, Finland (6/11)


Helsinki has been recognized for its liveability, but the city is highly strategic when it comes to its business community. Officials are focused on maximizing cost efficiency of city activities. Helsinki participates in the regional business sector and is strengthening and creating industry clusters and encouraging an educated work force.

Next: Sydney

7. Sydney, Australia (7/11)


Sydney has been named as a top place to live in several rankings. It attracts international business investments and has a robust financial sector. The city is also home to Port Botany, one of the continent's largest container ports, and Australia's largest airport. A strong manufacturing sector rounds out its economy.

Next: Perth

8. Perth, Australia (8/11)


Perth residents have a high standard of living, and the city is also working to ensure that the business environment matches these high expectations. As the gateway to the western section of the continent, Perth city officials are focusing on everything from infrastructure to local industry sectors to propel the area economy.

Next: Adelaide

9. Adelaide, Australia (9/11)


Representing South Australia, Adelaide has boomed in recent years. Enterprise Adelaide supports local businesses with information and assistance to begin, expand, or relocate a business there. And a Workforce Attraction program encourages new employees across all market sectors to locate in the city.

Next: Auckland

10. Auckland, New Zealand (10/11)


Auckland ranks on the liveability scale, but it is also especially vital to New Zealand's economic health. The city serves as an international gateway to the country and attracts most of the nation's overseas workers. The New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development says Auckland's productivity premium is about 50 percent higher than areas outside the metro region.

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