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Singapore beats Hong Kong in liveability rankings for first time

Lion City climbs 11 spots to 35th in annual report by Economist Intelligence Unit, while Hong Kong falls two places to 45th

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 9:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:56pm

Hong Kong is officially less liveable than Singapore, according to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit survey, with the Lion City coming out ahead for the first time thanks to improvements in education.

In the annual liveability report produced by the research group, Hong Kong fell two places to 45th in the overall table, while Singapore leaped 11 spots to 35th.

Melbourne was named the world’s most liveable city for the seventh successive year, while Damascus in Syria languished at the bottom of the list of 140 cities surveyed.

Roxana Slavcheva, one of the report’s authors, said the surge up the rankings was a major feat for Singapore, noting that the city was at its highest ever position in the global rankings.

But she said there was still little separating the two Asian rivals.

“In fact, it is worth remembering that, although 10 ranking places now separate Hong Kong and Singapore, the difference between them is marginal at just 1.6 per cent, and both comfortably sit in the top tier of liveability where there are few, if any, challenges to lifestyle,” Slavcheva said.

‘A first-world city with third-world air quality’: Hong Kong loses ground on expat liveability ranking

Elsewhere, improvements in Amsterdam and the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik moved both European cities ahead of Hong Kong.

Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong has dropped, sliding from 31st place five years ago to its current position.

Ranked as “uncomfortable” due to the “threat of civil unrest and conflict”, its slide has been attributed to changes in perceived safety and security – largely traced back to the Occupy protests and “lingering unease” over reforms to the electoral system.

The city’s culture and environment scores also suffered.

Time for Hong Kong to think out of the box to solve its liveability crisis

Despite the downward trend, Slavcheva remained optimistic about Hong Kong’s future.

“The city is not alone in this unenviable position, however, as the rest of the world has seen an overall drop in stability ... It takes time for the stability situation to settle and improve,” the group’s cities economist said.

“We do see signs of dust settling in the context of Hong Kong, but escalations are not completely out of context either.”

Of the major cities with declining scores, only Paris recorded a worse slump than Hong Kong’s, no thanks to the spate of recent terror attacks in and around the city.