Doha moves up but Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh all drop places in quality of life survey

The Arab Spring has knocked Libya, Egypt and Tunisia down the ranks of the world's most livable cities, a new survey says.
Doha was the only regional hub to rise up the ranks of most liveable cities. Above, the Qatari capital at night. Fadi Al Assaad / Reuters
Doha was the only regional hub to rise up the ranks of most liveable cities. Above, the Qatari capital at night. Fadi Al Assaad / Reuters

The Gulf's leading cities have lost some of their quality of life appeal over the past six months, according to a survey, with Doha emerging as the only regional hub to rise up the ranks.

Abu Dhabi dropped one place to 76th in the Economist Intelligence Unit'sbiannual rankings of the world's best cities in which to live.

Dubai dropped three places to 88th since the previous survey in February. Riyadh fell one place to 109th, and Bahrain and Muscat kept their 80th and 83rd-place rankings.

Doha edged up one notch to 85th in the 140-city list.

The Arab Spring has reduced the liveability of cities hit by revolutions, with the most severe drop seen in war-torn Libya. Tripoli fell 28 places to 135th, Cairo fell four places to 121st and Tunis fell two places to 104th.

The revolutions "prompted a pan-regional fall in liveability for affected states", the research body said.

The report compiles information on infrastructure, culture, education, health care and political stability to pit cities against each other. Multinational companies often use such surveys to calculate additional "hardship" pay for employees working in unstable countries.

Melbourne took the top spot in the most recent survey, knocking off Vancouver after almost a decade of dominance. Vienna came in second.

The worst-ranked was the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, which was also placed worst in February.

Jon Copestake, the survey's editor, said one recent trend was improvement to liveability in Asia.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul all made the top half of the rankings, although other less-developed Asian population centres scored near the bottom, including Karachi and Dhaka.

"Hubs in Asia perform very well because of strong infrastructure, education and stability indicators, although they perform less well on cultural activities," Mr Copestake said. "But Asia is unique in offering some of the world's more liveable locations as well as some at the bottom of the ranking."

Pittsburgh, ranked 29th, was rated the top US city for quality of life.

afitch@thenational.ae

Published: August 31, 2011 04:00 AM

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