What Makes a Neighborhood Liveable?


The Economist recently came out with its rankings of the most liveable cities in the world. (Vienna, Austria topped the list this year.)

It raises the question of what factors make a neighborhood liveable. To be sure, different people value different aspects of their neighborhoods, so there is no set of factors on which everyone will agree.

But what are some of the factors that matter to you? How would you measure them? Here are some ideas:

  1. Safety (crime rate)
  2. Economic diversity (income distribution)
  3. Ethnic diversity (ethnic distribution)
  4. Walkability (WalkScore)
  5. Transit (TransitScore)
  6. Access to parks and open spaces (households within walking distance)
  7. Environmental quality (air quality index)
  8. Affordability (H+T or combined housing and transportation costs)


Were those the metrics used in the article?

I’d say access to businesses is key. Say, within half a mile of home. I’m thinking coffee shops, grocers, etc. – not Walmart.


The report I cited, “Global Liveability Index 2018 (Free Overview)”, is here. Some of the metrics do overlap (particularly crime/safety).

Households in close proximity to shopping was one of the original complete communities indicators in the Imagine Austin plan. To some extent, it is captured in the WalkScore metric, which incorporates access to amenities via walking in its calculation.


Access to food, and not just garbage food, is a big one for me. Walkability is also a big one. I may have a coffee shop a half a mile away, but the route on foot Terry-O Lane) is downright dangerous. That same path also happens to be the path to the nearest bus stop, a 30 minute walk.


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