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I find it a bit funny to an article says no one wants to live in Vancouver during the same month that about half a dozen of my friends have decided to move there (or Victoria). I've never been myself so I personally have no opinion on the subject.

The suggestion that Vancouver BC is not a desirable place to live (and love) is preposterously stupid and belies Vancouver's very high real estate values.

As Kotkin himself states: “Sure, Vancouver is beautiful,” says Kotkin, “but it’s also unaffordable unless you’re on an expense account and your company is paying your rent.” "

Duh. And one of the reasons it is so expensive is because people voluntarily choose to be there. (And it's not just off-shore Chinese buying.)

What a dumb dumb dumb article, at least so far as Vancouver BC is concerned, which I know fairly well.

"which I know fairly well" - I smell a clue here :-)
If you are new to this blog: in the comments, most people try to present some arguments in favor of their view. Many of the cities on the "livability" list are quite expensive, because of strict regulation (zoning) or for other reasons.

"Why are the “most livable cities” so unpopular for actual living?"
Because they are expensive AND boring AND stuffy.

Uh, the "most livable" cities are extremely popular for actual living.They all tend to have a pretty high rate of population growth, especially compared to NYC which grew with only 2 percent over the last decade

I haven't been to Vancouver, but other Canadian cities, while nice, I agree were very boring. Why? Because of regional planning, the most boring thing in the universe.

According to The Google, Vancouver does not have 600,000 people.

And? So what if "Vancouver does not have 600,000 people?"
Yes it is a young, small city and it is not Toronoto, NYC, London etc.
I guess I am missing your point.
So what if Wikipedia says that Vancouver is 578,000 people and the metro area 2.1 million?,
What have I misread?
The FT article doesn't seem to directly discuss population size.
And generally Garreau gets it right: this sort of list is catnip.

Holy Christ you are being combative. Brainwashed, angry progressive detected.

Vancouver had a hundred thousand people a hundred years ago. It is not a new city by this continent's standards.

Maybe the relevant way to look at it is the other way around: They are so livable because not that many people like to live in them! Popularity leads to disaster!

Nobody goes to NYC any more; it's too crowded.

Some of the people commenting in the original FT article seem to be confusing "nice city to live in" with "nice city to visit." Also, while I understand the complaint about "these cities don't have any poor people" (a problem also with Richard Florida's idea of a good city), the cities that they offer as substitutes are perhaps even more places that are great places if you have money but difficult places if you're poor.

One problem I have with liquidity is that is is directly proportional to HFTs. But HFTs are widely considered to be major causes for instability. Furthermore, expanded liquidity is not only measured in demand for investment and services, but also for the alienation of these goods. In other words, confidence/demand that has actuated iteself in the market is commensurate with lack of confidence in the same. I know this second dynamic isn't completely clear-cut (production of consumer goods in particular is hardly "lack of confidence" in the same) but a lot of trading, particularly speculative and stock trading that doesn't add to production, seems to fall into this "unhealthy liquidity."

Despite this, the rate of liquidity has some clear consequences for any economy. In a market economy, it seems impossible to disassociate this dynamic from other, healthy transactions.

Regarding the attraction or not of Vancouver (I live in its suburbs), it is a town of many attractions and is growing like crazy. It is straightforwardly world-class as a place to walk around, play outside, or eat. It is a tiny town for the fine arts, though it has a few first-rate writers in its boundaries, and a few neat festivals.

It has a notoriously one-dimensional night life, (clubbing on Granville or early to bed so you can play sports Saturday morning) and the ridiculous poverty of the Downtown Eastside.

A lovely place, but only worth it if you take advantage of its advantages. Its growth will also be geographically constrained on three sides.

Vancouver is certainly not the worst example that one could cite. I think it is the lack of a coherent city centre that makes a lot of Europeans think North American cities to be dull and uninspiring. In contrast, New York has a vibrancy that makes it popular with visitors.

Most livable for them means most like suburbs.

Speaking of Vancouver, Canada is a really terrible country for good cities. Only Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver can really be considered cities. Toronto is pretty dull, Torontonians think their city is world-class but mostly that's because they've never visited any big cities elsewhere. Toronto seems to largely turn into a ghost town after 8pm as most Torontonians prefer sitting in front of their flat screen TVs watching hockey to going out.
Vancouver has a great location but it really feels like a small town, I think part of the reason it's so expensive is that there must be some strong building restrictions downtown as the buildings are not very tall and one would think that given the ridiculous going rate for condos there developers would try to build more. Vancouver also has a great range of Asian culinary options.
As for me I love big BIG cities - my favorites are the big cities in the Asia-Pacific - Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai because of their modern transportation systems.

I agree - Montreal is far and away the most livable and lovable city in Canada. Asian cities are fun, but the physical environment can wear you down.

Also I guess most LIVABLE does not mean most INTERESTING. Usually these livability rankings are only concerned with things like low crime rates, good schools, easy commutes, etc.
You don't see these places ranked in terms of coolest nightlife, best/greatest variety of restaurants, best venues, etc.


I agree with the article's assessment of international buyers driving incredibly high real estate prices in major cities. I feel DC is also in the transition phase to completely unaffordable partly due to this trend. Give another ten years of gentrification and we could match New York.

That idea that Moscow isn't walkable is very odd to me- I have had many of my most enjoyable walks there, and there are many. Now, many (though by no means all) of the places that are really great to walk are inside the metro ring- a really expensive place to live- but something similar is true of many cities. But there are many interesting places to walk outside the ring, too. It's true that not many people walk to work, for example, but that's true most places. But there are just dozens and dozens of great places to walk, and it's not a coincidence that Russian has a special word meaning "to walk for pleasure". I can't believe that anyone who thinks it's bad place for walking has either tried or spent any real time there. Even in the winter it's nice- you just need the right clothes.

These semi-snobby articles about city life always seem written by someone who has a pretty narrow range of experience. The silly quote about Copenhagen, the dismissal of the entire west coast (except LA and maybe SF), "...marginal Pacific city..." Has the author ever lived anywhere but London?

And, for what it's worth, as best as I can tell, Vancouver BC grew by 5+% over the last decade, and NYC grew by 2%. So maybe Vancouver is more "liveable"...

I guess I disagree with the premise. I live in a mid-size southern city (Nashville), but grew up a country boy. I'm in the city for work/economic opportunity, and while I like Nashville I fully expect to move farther out into the country when my job doesn't require proximity. The thought of moving to a NYC or Chicago or Atlanta (yes I've been to all of these) has no appeal to me at all. In my mind most folks would opt to live away from the dense cities if not for the economic opportunity.

The basic premise is ridiculous - Vancouver (and the other top cities on the list) are 'unpopular for living' - based on what? Of course Vancouver stands in for other cities in films - most of them are American films intended for American audiences.

I think the livability index pertains more to the everyday life of a regular middle aged citizen. A big world city can be exciting to visit and a place of opportunity for a talented young person without a family who can happily live in a studio apartment, but a person over 30 with a family?

As others have already pointed out, it is simply not the case that the cities on these indices are places people don't actually move to. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, all of which appear at least once across recent indices have all experienced reasonably high growth in recent decades. All are also expensive places to live.

The concept of "most livable" city is as useless as the concept of the "most drivable" car. While we can all agree what makes an unlivable city or an undrivable car, the livability will depend on who you are. If Rio is your favorite city, most likely you will not be happy in Copenhagen and vice versa.

The most livable city is the one you can get a job in that pays enough money to make rent on an apartment a family can live in. This rules out London and New York for most people.

Livability for most people, based on Census trends, means jobs and weather.

#4 Reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote "Nobody ever goes there because its always too crowded".

When your article's premise is "Why isn't LA on the list of the most livable cities?", you might want to reconsider writing. (Answer: because LA is a hellhole.)

Here's an article about the fastest-growing cities (MSAs) of the decade in the USA, according to the Census.

The inclusion of Pittsburgh as a "most liveable" does seem absurd by that metric, since it's one of the slowest growing of the top 50 MSAs. But many of the fastest growing are these sorts of pleasant for middle class people cities that win these surveys, not the pleasant for the upper class cities that the article TC links to seems to prefer.

#4 by Heathcote is horribly written. He presents no data that people don't want to live in such cities, just his subjective judgments which are worth as little as the lists he is attacking.

Many of the cities on the “livability” list are quite expensive,This rules out London and New York for most people.

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