Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh Vienna, So Enchanting

Perhaps global quality of living rankings are akin to academic pissing contests, nevertheless, I was pleased to see Vienna come out on top in the 2011 rankings.  Mercer's, a global consulting firm, annually ranks cities according to their quality of living -- using New York City as the referent -- based on 39 criteria in 10 categories.  Even though the methodology isn't explained in great detail on the website, Mercer's states that each category is weighted to reflect its importance in quality of living as experienced by expatriates.  The report obviously discloses that the rankings are intended for the expatriate population but this point isn't emphasized so you could argue that quality of living is distinctly different from quality of life -- perhaps ~75% overlap?  Quality of living may be more about the ease of moving to the city, adjusting to it, then building a fulfilling life once you're settled.  Quality of life, however, may be more about the life you live once you start calling that city 'home'.  Or maybe not -- perhaps any differences between the two are simply semantic?  Questions and issues aside, though, the rankings make for interesting fodder.  Here are the top ten:
  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Dusseldorf, Germany
  6. Vancouver, Canada
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Bern, Switzerland & Copenhagen, Denmark (tie)
The US city highest on the list is Honolulu with a ranking of 29, followed by San Francisco (30th), Boston (36th), Chicago (43rd), Washington, DC (also 43rd), NYC (47th), Seattle (48th), and, finally, Pittsburgh at 49.    

Lisa and I have been living in Vienna for nearly a year-and-a-half and although my shoddy German certainly isn't a reflection of life in Vienna ("Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut" is a common refrain), I agree with Mercer's:  Vienna does have a high -- the best according to some -- quality of living. 

Cheers to Austria!
Lisa and I at a ski jumping competition in Bischofshofen.  We'd never seen so much Austrian patriotism at one time:  the Austrians love their ski jumpers!  (Disclaimer:  There wasn't a single American skier competing.)

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