Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Extremes in Liveability


I think my perception of Vancouver has been skewed by the doom of media. Reports of rain, gloom and more rain, give me little desire to see the city. Then again, I have seen some amazing shots of the harbour, Stanley Park and unlike Winnipeg their downtown actually looks like a big city sky scape. Regardless of all that, I was very surprised that Vancouver tops the list of the world's most liveable city. (As stated in The Economist's world liveability survey.) Really, Vancouver?? Neat then, that this city is set to host the world at the 2010 Olympics.
Also on this list at #5 is Toronto. This did surprise me somewhat because one factor in this survey was the likelihood of a terrorist attack; seeing as Toronto seems to be Canada's New York, would this not factor in? However, the one city I would consider moving to in Canada - is T.O. or the GTA. I absolutely love it there, I like the downtown's diversity, the harbour front is so quaint, and North of T.O.,where many Torontonians retreat for the summer - cottage country. Going North, the highways in the hills, so many little towns dotting the roads, cute storefronts, coffee shops -
SNAP - getting carried away...
The point is we have 2 cities in the top 10 from Canada. And I've been to one of the cities in the bottom ten - Phnom Penh.
Again, I was surprised. Phnom Penh? (53% liveability or 47% intolerable) The people there are friendly, hardworking and I didn't notice instability, then again they are in the early stages of rebuilding their country and the commencement of trials for former Khmer Rouge. Other factors in the survey were education, health care and infrastructure. They are right then, Phnom Penh does suffer. Public education is provided, although teachers are paid so little they have been known to charge children per day or per exam to supplement their income. I saw first-hand that their public health care is severely under funded. Infrastructure - many civil servants are paid less than $50.00 a month, and succumb to taking bribes to supplement their income. Add to that, foreign investors who move in, kick people off their land and build as they see fit - with or without government support.
Our country with only 33 million people has that great of liveability to have 2 cities on top? Even more, Switzerland has 2 there as well?
Coming back to Canada from Phnom Penh, I knew I had been exposed to 'third world', but I did not believe and I'm not sure I still do: that Phnom Penh or Cambodia's liveability is that low.
These results make me think I didn't see enough.

1 comment:

roverT said...

VERY interesting to me too. I loved Phnom Penh! I can understand to a certain degree though. I like your thoughts on this, I think we saw a fairly limited view of Phnom Penh.