For years I have read and reviewed the "Most Livable City", "Best Quality of Life City" rankings by the UN, the Economist, by Monocle, etc. with a degree of skepticism. I even blogged about it disdainfully when I wrote who really cares about these lists. I've lived in some incredible cities, but they were never included.
Boy, do I feel stupid now. For years, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada has sat comfortably on top in the UN, Economist, Mercer Consulting, Monocle's rankings of the world's most livable cities. And after my first and recent trip to Vancouver, I now see why.
Firstly, it is an incredibly beautiful city. It is not architecturally interesting but the abundance of nature that surrounds it and weaves through it more than overcompensates for the lack of human-designed beauty. Vancouver is encased by mountains and water. It is easy when you are biking or hiking through Stanley Park to forget that you are in an urban metropolis. The city is a joy to walk, bike, drive through. Kudos to the urban planners! Its urban scale is designed to make all forms of travel pleasurable - unlike Los Angeles, my present home which is designed purely for cars; or New York City, my prior home, where it is often easier and quicker to navigate on foot than in a car or subway.
Now I know that the few days I spent in Vancouver does not equal the experience of living and working in a city. But I can tell you this, I wouldn't mind finding out.
Now where did I leave those Vancouver job listings....