Photo: flickr/ MorBCN
Despite being in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the formation of the European Union, Europe is still home to the world’s most “prosperous” cities.A new report from the United Nations Human Settlements Program (U.N.-Habitat) ranked the world’s cities on a unique prosperity metric, and 19 out of the top 25 were all in Europe, and nine of them use the Euro.
Vienna came in first, not only weathering the euro crisis, but also over recovering from the brutal post-war era, when it was “full of refugees and people desperate to earn a living.”
So why does the report claim that Europe’s cities are so prosperous, despite daily reports coming out highlighting protests over austerity, unemployment, and income inequality?
Well, look at how the metric works.
The City Prosperity Index (CPI) takes into account five dimensions: productivity, quality of life, infrastructure development, equity and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
Europe is one of the most environmentally conscious places on the planet. Much of the continent invests a large proportion of its capital in infrastructure; its roads, trains, and public transportation are some of the best in the world. And many European societies offer much broader social welfare programs than the rest of the world, which would influence the ‘equity and social inclusion’ and ‘quality of life’ metrics, respectively.
When you look at the metrics in detail, it makes a bit more sense why Europe dominates the CPI rankings. But the report goes further than ranking — it posits that that cities will be integral in combating the economic meltdown:
With adequate backing from higher tiers of government, the city appears as a flexible, operational, creative platform for the development of collaborative agendas and strategies for local responses to the global crisis.
Here’s the list:
- New York