Melbourne’s liveability status has plummeted from the world’s second most liveable city to eighth, shaped by the impact of constant lockdowns since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Economist’s annual Global Liveability Index named smaller Australian cities Adelaide and Perth as more liveable than the Victorian capital despite it previously topping the list for much of the past decade.
Brisbane failed to compare to Melbourne, yet still appeared in the top 10, with Sydney in 11th place.
Auckland New Zealand was named the number one most liveable city, owing to its ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic faster, and lift restrictions earlier.
Despite Melbourne’s score dropping, it still managed to remain in the top 10 most liveable cities, along with six other cities in Australia and New Zealand that had enforced tight border controls.
The report stated the ranking was influenced by cities’ ability to weather the effects of the pandemic, including being sheltered by strong border closures, allowing people to live relatively normal lives, the ability to handle a health crisis and the pace at which a vaccine was rolled out.
It comes as Melbourne prepares to emerge from its fourth lockdown since the start of the pandemic after a rise in coronavirus cases forced residents into their homes and to abide by tough restrictions.
The report said the pandemic would continue to affect the liveability of cities.
“The pace of recovery of liveability in most regions will be determined by how effectively the health risks of the pandemic can be controlled,” the report said.
Conditions in the poorest cities are likely to deteriorate further should cities fail to get the vaccines they need to prevent the spread of new variants.
The report also states that weak healthcare systems could come under greater strain, as they have in India.
“A slower inoculation drive would result in a more strict lockdown, thereby affecting the expected recovery in economic growth,” the report said.
This, in turn, could affect other categories, including stability.”