Best City to Live? Depends On What You’re Looking For
Time magazine has produced a list of the world’s best cities. It’s number one city is Hong Kong, based on an index called the Spatially Adjusted Liveability Index that measures seven characteristics – “green space, urban sprawl (or lack thereof), access to nature, availability of world-class cultural assets (measured by counting the number of U.N. World Heritage Sites nearby), connectivity (how easy it is to reach the rest of the world), isolation (measured by the number of other large cities nearby) and pollution.”
An architect, Filippo Lovato, created the index and if you want to know how the measures skew his opening line gives the game away: “Hong Kong, the winner, is a very compact city….”
If that matters to you, then maybe Hong Kong – population density is 25,900 people per square mile – is the place to live. For other people, the best city may be some place that has a lot of amenities but is also one where the dollar stretches the furthest. If that’s the case, then Joel Kotkin recommends Houston, Texas: “What puts Houston at the top of the list is the region’s relatively low cost of living, which includes such things as consumer prices and services, utilities and transportation costs and, most importantly, housing prices.”
“Adjusted for cost of living, the average Houston wage of $59,838 is worth $66,933, tops in the nation.”
With a population density of just 4,644 people per square mile, Houston won’t make many lists that put high priority on crowding and congestion. But if I had to chose, I’d easily pick Houston over Hong Kong. Plus, the barbeque is better in Texas anyway.