The rising population poses challenges for Asia’s “Garden City” but Singapore’s politics and tolerance are “slowly improving”.
On the back of this assessment, Singapore climbed up sixth places to rank as the 15th most liveable city in the world, according to London-based magazine Monocle. Singapore was ranked 18 in 2009.
According to the international lifestyle magazine, the top three liveable cities were Finland’s Helsinki, Switzerland’s Zurich and Denmark’s Copenhagen.
Monocle has conducted its annual quality of life survey since 2007 but approached this year’s rating with three considerations – how cities make use of its opportunities, the probability of residents buying groceries after 8pm and balancing conservation with forward-thinking planning.
Monocle said Singaporeans “had a good 2010″ as the Singapore economy grew 14.5 per cent. “But more relaxed immigration policies have seen an influx of (mainly Chinese) migrants while a rapidly growing population means that public services are sometimes stretched,” the magazine wrote.
Monocle noted Singapore’s inequality levels, one of the highest in the developed world, also mean that there is “some worry about the have-nots being left behind”. However, the magazine noted the “political climate is slowly liberalising, with little blowback in the hitherto conservative state when a political candidate was outed as being gay”.
Local government “remains efficient”, education and medical services “top-notch” and crime levels “are sound”.
“Furthermore, with Changi airport, some of the world’s best beaches are just a short flight away,” the magazine added.
But Monocle suggested some “fixes” – better integration for the increasing number of migrants and fewer chains.
“Does Singapore really need yet another Starbucks?” the magazine wondered, while noting there are some 69 Starbucks coffee outlets on the island.
Japan had three cities – Tokyo (ninth), Fukuoka (16th) and Kyoto (21st) – in the world’s top 25 liveable cities. Hong Kong, meanwhile, was a new entry in the list, taking the 17th spot.-By Leong Wee Keat