| Zurich’s yummy: Martina Hingis in the Swiss city
London, March 3 (Reuters): The Swiss city of Zurich edged out Vancouver, Canada, and the Austrian capital of Vienna to top a quality of life survey published today, with impoverished, war-torn African cities dominating the bottom ranks.
Baghdad, where residents are preparing for a possible US-led war, placed 213th of the 215 cities studied.
The study handed the crown to Zurich based on 39 criteria ranging from political, social and economic factors that also included the quality of health, education and transport services.
Zurich, which is surrounded by picturesque scenery, also claimed top spot in last year’s survey of cities, commissioned by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Vancouver, nestled between mountains and ocean on Canada’s Pacific coast, and historic Vienna ranked a joint second, followed by Geneva and Sydney.
Auckland, Copenhagen, the German cities of Frankfurt and Munich and the Swiss capital, Berne, all tied for fifth spot.
At the other end of the table, Congo’s Brazzaville and Bangui in the Central African Republic were judged to have the worst quality of life.
The top-rated city in the US was San Francisco, which placed 20th, down from 18th last year.
“The gap between cities at the top and bottom of the table is still large,” said Slagin Parakatil, a senior researcher at Mercer.
“Economic and political unrest in Africa and Latin America has pushed many cities down in the rankings this year,” he said. “It will take time for many of those African cities to recover from such prolonged periods of political and economic turmoil and to re-establish stable, law-enforcing democracies.”
In the study, conducted between September and November 2002, New York City was given a base score of 100 for quality of life. It was ranked 44th on the list.
By contrast, Zurich topped the poll with a score of 106.5 and Brazzaville finished at 215 and last with 28.5 points.
Other notable cities included Amsterdam at 10th spot, Tokyo at 26, London at 39, Los Angeles at 53 and Rome at 66th.
Lower down the table, Athens finished at 79, Istanbul at 91, Rio De Janeiro at 108, Jerusalem at 126, New Delhi at 162 and Havana at 189.
African cities occupied 17 of the bottom 20 spots.