Colombo has been ranked among the worst 10 livable cities in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Liveability Survey released this month. According to the survey, Colombo is placed 131 out of 140 cities.
The index ranks cities with an overall rating which is then subdivided into categories of Stability, Healthcare, Culture & Environment, Education and Infrastructure- on a scale from 100 to 0 with hundred being the "ideal" and zero "intolerable".
According to the survey, "the concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions."
Interestingly the highest ranking cities are located in Australia and Canada- the countries with the largest Sri Lankan Diaspora. Vancouver, Canada is at the top, followed by Melbourne. Toronto, Calgary, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide fall within the top ten. Other top ten contenders include Auckland (New Zealand), Helsinki (Finland) and Vienna (Austria).
Sri Lanka heads the low-rankers with an overall rating of 48.5 followed by Dakar (Senegal), Tehran (Iran), Douala (Cameroon), Karachi (Pakistan), Algiers (Algeria), Lagos (Nigeria), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) respectively. The bottom spot is held with an overall rating of 37.5 by Harare, Zimbabwe.
Despite heavy investments on infrastructure in the year 2010, Colombo received just an average satisfactory 51.8 points for infrastructure. The infrastructure component judges transport, quality of road network, quality of public transport, quality of regional or international links and availability of good quality housing and utilities; quality of energy provision, quality of water provision, and quality of telecommunications infrastructure.
Despite the Ministry of Defense' taking over of the Urban Development Authority in May 2010, Colombo has received only a score of 45 for stability and 47.7 for culture and environment. The culture aspect looks into corruption, discomfort to travelers, social/religious restrictions and the level of censorship.
Could major development projects such as the Colombo seafront expansion and the construction of Shangri-La hotel boost the liveability ranking of the capital city, which is eyeing to become Asia's little miracle? (Dianne Silva)