Singapore ranks 7th in liveable cities index

Singapore falls four places to seventh in the world, and second in Asia.
Nicole Tan Channel NewsAsia 26 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: Singapore dropped four positions to seventh place in the Global Liveable Cities Index, according to the results of a study released on Thursday (Nov 26).

The index is a ranking of the world's most liveable cities, compiled by the Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI) at National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Singapore performed strongly in economic vibrancy and competitiveness, domestic security and stability, as well as political governance. The study conceptualises liveability under the following five dimensions - economic vibrancy and competitiveness, environmental friendliness and sustainability, domestic security and stability, socio-cultural conditions and political governance.

Switzerland’s Geneva and Zurich topped the list of 64 cities around the world. In Asia, Singapore was ranked second, after Hong Kong, which ranked sixth overall.

Singapore came in ahead of Hong Kong in areas such as domestic security and stability and political governance, but trailed it in areas such as economic vibrancy and competitiveness, and environmental friendliness and sustainability.

In the previous study in 2012, Singapore was ranked third.

The drop was attributed to a relatively weak showing in indicators such as social equity and environmental sustainability.

"Our conditions from 2011 to 2013 were worsening, including income disparity. But since 2013, the Government has come in to do a lot of public policy remedies, whether it's solving public housing shortage, or higher price in the property sectors, and also opening up infrastructure bottlenecks,” said Associate Professor Tan Khee Giap, co-director of ACI.

“But this kind of improvement probably will be reflected in our next update, because we don't do this every year. So unfortunately, rankings because of data constraints have some lagging effect. That’s why our liveability index has deteriorated from 3 to 7. But that reflects the situation of Singapore between 2011 and 2013. I'm confident as we move forward, when we update again, I foresee Singapore's liveability will improve again," he added.

Observers said the liveability of a city is crucial in enhancing its competitiveness and development so that it can attract good workers and businesses.

With growing economic integration in Asia, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said Singapore can play the role of a trusted home base for companies looking to capture new opportunities in the region.

"I hope that Singapore can play our modest role in creating an environment of mutual trust and cooperation amid this dynamic competitiveness of economies,” said Mr Heng. “And with this trust, we can weave stronger long-term bonds with our stakeholders to enable closer dialogue between our partners and reinforce the image of Asia as a trusted and sustainable economic entity and thereby attracting investments, creating jobs and playing our part in contributing to global growth."

For future research, the institute said it is looking to expand the study to cover 200 cities, including 100 Greater China cities, 30 Southeast Asian cities, 20 Middle Eastern cities and 50 cities from the Americas, Europe, Oceania and other parts of Asia.

It said it has also started research on intelligent and smart cities, as infocomm technology has been identified as having a significant impact on how people live, work and play.

- CNA/ek/xq

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