| Azlan Othman |
BANDAR Seri Begawan (BSB) has been ranked as Southeast Asia’s third most liveable city after Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The capital city of Brunei is placed number 100 in a global ranking of most liveable cities.
The latest Global Liveability Ranking released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this week puts Bandar Seri Begawan ahead of Bangkok (No 102), Manila (No 104), Jakarta (No 118), Hanoi (No 119), Ho Chi Minh City (No 122) and Phnom Penh (No 123), thanks mainly to improvements in infrastructure.
“Half of the improving cities are based in Asia where Shanghai, BSB, Phnom Penh and Colombo saw improvements in their rankings in the past year, which the survey attributed largely to infrastructural improvements and broadening cultural availability,” EIU said in its report.
BSB’s latest ranking shows an improvement over last two years. The Sultanate’s capital ranked 101 in 2016 and 2015.
Commenting on the report, an expatriate said, “If you are young and aspiring, then, most likely, BSB is not a place for you. But if you are older and looking for stability and tranquility, then it is most likely the place for you.”
According to a tourist, “BSB is an easy city to live in. Not the most exciting travel destination however. I always see BSB as a chilling place – Gadong and Times Square for socials while Serusop and Kiulap for shopping.”
Melbourne in Australia topped the charts for the seventh consecutive year as the most liveable urban centre among the cities surveyed, followed by the Austrian capital Vienna.
Three Canadian cities – Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary – took the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively, with a marginal score dividing the cities in the closely-fought ranking.
Cities ranked at the bottom include Kiev in Ukraine and Damascus in war-torn Syria.
The EIU cited increasing instability across the world such as the threat of terrorism in Europe when explaining the volatility in the scores of many cities. Over the past six months, 35 of the 140 cities surveyed had changes in their
This figure rose to 44, when tracked over the past year. “The ongoing weakening of global stability scores has been made uncomfortably apparent by a number of high-profile incidents that have shown no signs of slowing in recent years,” the EIU said in the report.
“While not a new phenomenon, the frequency and spread of terrorism have increased noticeably and become even more prominent.”
The EIU’s liveability survey rates each city over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: Stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Cities such as Manchester in the United Kingdom and Stockholm in Sweden saw their scores decline as a result of the recent, high-profile terrorist attacks.
Other issues that threaten stability include concerns over geopolitical stability in Asia, the migration crisis in Western Europe and Brexit, the EIU added.
“New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are all prestigious hubs with a wealth of recreational activities, but all suffer from higher levels of crime, congestion and public transport problems.
“The question is how much wages, the cost of living and personal taste for a location can offset liveability factors,” the report added.