By Max Clarke
As rioters take to the streets in Greece once more, the latest liveability survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found that Athens is the worst-scoring in the region for liveability.
The Liveability Ranking assesses living conditions in 140 cities around the world. A rating of relative comfort for 30 indicators is assigned across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.
Although Western Europe is the highest scoring region, Athens hovers just above the cut-off point below which liveability is considered problematic. The city suffers primarily because of poor education indicators and problems with infrastructure, particularly the road network. Athens' score of 81.2% in the survey puts it in 63rd place. This is below Taipei (61st) and Buenos Aires (62nd) and just above Santiago in Chile (64th).
Jon Copestake, editor of the report, comments "Athens has long hovered around the 80% score, below which we'd recommend some sort of hardship allowance for visiting workers. Investment in infrastructure driven by the 2004 Olympics ensured that Athens moved above this interval, but the unrest there highlights broader problems that will continue to weigh on liveability."
Vancouver (Canada) sits at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking, a position that can only have been cemented by the successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Harare (Zimbabwe) is the lowest-scoring city at just 37.5%. Despite hopes of elections in 2011, stability and healthcare scores of just 25% and 20.8% respectively highlight a bleak situation.