Australia’s “Bush Capital” ranked second best city in the world

The rankings reflects how satisfied and well residents feel, based on factors like life expectancy, income, housing costs, recreational options, cultural sites, and internet speed.

Canberra has been named the second-best city out of the 1,000 largest cities in the world for quality of life by the latest Oxford Economics Global Cities report.

Canberra, Australia’s capital, is a planned city nestled in the southeastern part of the country, boasting a population of around 450,000.

The city is known for its lush green spaces and high quality of life, it offers key attractions such as the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, and the National Gallery of Australia. The city’s natural beauty is highlighted by Lake Burley Griffin and the surrounding bushland, while spots like the National Museum and Questacon provide rich cultural and educational experiences.

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Walter Burley Griffin, a well-known architect, planned Canberra, the capital city of Australia, and also contributed to the planning of New Delhi, the capital of India, working alongside Sir Edwin Lutyens, although his role was less prominent.

While Lutyens’ influence on urban design remains evident in his blend of classical and modernist elements, Griffin’s designs reflect his commitment to blending architecture with the natural environment in urban spaces.

The rankings reflects how satisfied and well residents feel, based on factors like life expectancy, income, housing costs, recreational options, cultural sites, and internet speed.

The report notes that across the 1,000 cities, those in North America, Western Europe and Oceania generally perform best, scoring highly across all categories. 

“In 2023, the 1,000 largest cities in the world accounted for 60% of global GDP and over 30% of the world’s population—and the importance of cities will only continue to grow in the future,” the report states.

Only Grenoble in France outranked Canberra, making it the only Australian city to make the top 10 for quality of life.

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Among Australian cities, Canberra ranked fifth, behind Melbourne (9th), Sydney (16th), Perth (23rd), and Brisbane (27th). New York took the top spot as the best city in the world overall.

Canberra’s biggest challenge is its environment, with the report noting the city’s susceptibility to natural disasters like bushfires and floods.

Nicknamed “The Bush Capital,” often mistaken as being the most “boring” city in Australia, Canberra’s location in the Australian bush makes it particularly prone to wildfires.

“Canberra’s biggest weakness is its environment. Indeed, the city is subjected to natural disasters such as bushfires and floods. Canberra’s nickname is ‘The Bush Capital,’ owing to its location in the middle of the Australian bush which makes it particularly vulnerable to wildfires. These wildfires also contribute to the air quality occasionally deteriorating during the fire season, a trend made worse by Canberra being in a valley as this causes smoke to be trapped over the city,” the report stated.

The report highlighted Canberra’s strengths, including high life expectancy, high educational levels, and low income inequality. However, it also noted weaknesses such as limited economic diversity, vulnerability to natural disasters, and slower internet speeds.

Despite this high ranking, Canberra didn’t make the top 10 in other categories like economics, human capital, environment, or governance, and was ranked 44th overall among global cities. It performed poorly in the environment (194th) and economics (179th) categories. However, it did better in human capital (90th) and governance (18th).

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