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Melbourne Tops World’s Most Livable Cities List

iStockpoto/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Melbourne, Australia, has hung on to the top spot for the second year in a row in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the world’s most livable cities.

Melbourne got a score of 97.5 of 100, just beating out second-place Vienna, Austria, which scored 97.4 and third-place Vancouver, Canada, which scored 97.3.

“Overall it is a remarkable testament to our remarkable city and I think we should be very proud of that,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle told the Austalian Broadcasting Company. “Too often, even in our own wonderful city, it’s a bit easy to find the things that we think have gone wrong. What this tells us is that on a world scale, that there isn’t a more livable city and I think that’s a great outcome.”

Canada and Australia made a strong showing on the list, with the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary coming in third, fourth, and fifth (tied), respectively. The Australian cities of Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth came in fifth (tied), seventh, and tenth, respectively. Helsinki, Finland and Auckland, New Zealand rounded out the list.

Sixteen U.S. cities made the list, which ranked 140 cities in the categories of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.  Honolulu topped the U.S. list, tying with Amsterdam for 26th place.  Next for America was Pittsburgh, which ranked 30th, followed by Washington D.C. at 34th place. Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago tied for 36, followed by Detroit at 40, Boston at 41 and Seattle at 42. Minneapolis tied with Los Angeles for 43 followed by Cleveland and Houston at 45 and 46, respectively. San Francisco, New York, and Lexington came in at the bottom for American cities, at 52, 56, 59.

Although these rankings may seem dismal for the United States, they still put America’s worst-rated city, Lexington, which has an overall score of 85.4, well within the survey’s top tier of 80-100, which indicates that “there are few, if any, challenges to living standards.”

Jon Copestake, the survey’s editor, said in a statement: “The tiny increment between the top ten cities shows just how tight the ranking can be. Canadian cities, like Australia, benefit from good infrastructure and low crime rates. For big US cities a high score for cultural activities can come at the expense of higher congestion and crime rates.”

Bottoming out the list is Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a score of 38.7, but it was not the only city to receive bad news from the survey.

According to a statement released by the EIU “the impact of the Arab Spring and fallout from the Eurozone crisis is still being felt. Many cities in the Middle East and North Africa have seen downward revisions to their scores thanks to civil unrest. The ongoing civil war in Syria saw the capital Damascus fall furthest as violence intensifies, with the city dropping 13 places to 130th out of 140 cities surveyed and into the very bottom tier of livability with a score of 46.3.”

For a full list of the cities ranked see the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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