Barcelona and Madrid moving fast up prestigious international ranking of best cities to live in post-pandemic

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Barcelona. Photo credit https://twitter.com/alfons_pc

Spain’s two leading cities are in the top ten biggest upward movers in the bi-annual ‘Liveability Index’ that ranks global cities by quality of life, published by The Economist group.

Spanish cities did well in part because of their response to the Covid-19 crisis. “The extent to which cities were sheltered by strong border closures, their ability to handle the health crisis and the pace at which they rolled out vaccination campaigns drove significant changes in the rankings,” explains the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister publication of The Economist Magazine.

The Liveability Index ranks 140 cities around the world by a liveability score, which “assesses which locations around the world provide the best and worst living conditions.”

Cities are assessed across five areas that are key to quality of life in a city: stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure. The first ranking this year, based on surveys conducted in February and March, reveals that “the pandemic has caused huge volatility in our bi-annual Liveability index,” explains the publisher.

All the top 10 cities this year were in the Far East or Switzerland, led by Auckland in New Zealand. Zurich and Geneva were the only European cities in the top ten.

At the other end of the scale, Damascus in Syria was the least liveable city in the world once again.

Looking at the biggest upward movers Barcelona (16) and Madrid (19) were in the top 10 biggest movers, which was otherwise almost all full of US cities. Honolulu in Hawaii was the biggest mover, up 46 places in the ranking to 14th place.

The biggest downward movers included Rome (-21) and Athens (-20), plus three German cities, and Dublin.

The publisher explains that “many European and Canadian cities have fallen down the rankings, having battled a second Covid-19 wave by restricting cultural and sporting events, and closing schools and restaurants.” The Spanish capital Madrid, in particular, took a different approach, eschewing restrictions and keeping as much of the city’s cultural life open.

Both Spanish cities are now in the top 20 of this prestigious global city ranking that influences the opinions of the global elite, and were also in the top 10 biggest upward movers. Other Spanish cities like Valencia, Palma, Malaga and Seville won’t be far behind as they all share a similar quality of life.

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