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Are Cities in Asia becoming better places to live?

  • BACKGROUND ON ASIA

Asia is the world's largest and most populated continent. It covers about 30% of the Earth's land area and is home to over 4.6 billion people. The continent boasts diverse geography, including the highest point, Mount Everest, and the lowest point, the Dead Sea. Asia has a rich history with ancient civilizations like the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley civilizations. It is culturally and linguistically diverse, with various languages and religions. The region's economy is thriving, with countries like China, India and Japan being major players in global trade.


  • JUDGEMENT CRITERIA

In a liveability ranking conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a well-known research and analysis firm that provides various reports, indices, and rankings on different topics, including liveability rankings for cities around the world, Asia and Australasia (Australasia, a combination of “Australia” and “Asia”, is region including Australia, New Zealand, and nearby islands in the Pacific Ocean) were found to host some of the world's least and most pleasant cities to live in.


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) utilizes specific criteria to assess the liveability. These criteria include factors such as political stability, safety, healthcare services, education quality, infrastructure, cultural amenities, and environmental conditions.


  • HOW ARE THE CITIES DEVELOPING AND MAKING ASIA A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?

As per the report provided by EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) on liveability, Osaka ranked first with Melbourne on the grounds of good education. It was followed by Tokyo being fourth and Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, the four Australian Countries that made it to the top 10 list, Hong Kong leapt 13 places up the rankings after lifting pandemic rules.


Incremental developments in Asian cities are contributing to their improved livability. India is currently experiencing a notable transformation in its transportation sector, marked by the introduction of rapid new trains connecting to Delhi, the expansion of Mumbai's metro network, and the impressive annual construction of 10,000 kilometres of highways.


In the aftermath of COVID-19 restrictions being eased, the nation has witnessed a significant improvement in various key areas, including culture and environment, healthcare, and education. This progress has resulted in India's climb from the 14th to the 10th rank in terms of business environment for the period 2023-2027.


Moreover, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts a substantial increase in India's working-age population, with nearly 100 million more people expected by 2030, propelling the total working-age population comfortably past the 1 billion mark. These developments paint a promising picture of India's growth and potential on both domestic and global fronts.


Education is also progressing in parts of Asia. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, witnessed a notable improvement in the Economist Intelligence Unit's global ranking, in part due to the continued success of its schools. According to aggregate learning scores, Vietnamese students now outperform their peers in Britain and Canada, as reported by the World Bank.


There have also been improvements in the areas of better job opportunities, technology and economy and many more. Significant developments in infrastructure and education have made Asian cities more attractive and liveable places for their residents.


  • PROBLEMS IN ASIA

There are problems in the Asian subcontinent that still exist. Indian cities faced challenges in improving their overall livability scores, mainly due to worsening climate conditions. Floods in northern India in July and the prevalence of air pollution in South Asia negatively impacted their rankings.


Although the region’s stability score, which considers factors like crime, civil unrest, and war, declined in the past year, supply-chain disruptions and high food prices have led to growing disappointments. This might result in increased unrest in Asian cities, potentially undermining recent progress. For example, Bangladesh witnessed mass protests driven, in part, by surging inflation. It is anticipated that more turmoil could occur in the region in the coming months, posing further challenges to liveability and stability in Asian cities.


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