Calgary has lost its spot in the top three most livable cities in the world dropping from three to seven.

Calgary Economic Development (CED), however, said Calgary’s still one of the best places in the world to live and highlights that more than ever the city is competing on a global stage.

Economist Intelligence Unit released its annual livability ranking and overview that quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle. More than 170 global cities are scored for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Calgary, which had a strong performance last year, finishing third, dropped to seven after Sydney and Melbourne, Australia rose up the ranking due to their strong performance in healthcare.

Calgary scored the full 100 points in stability, healthcare, education and infrastructure, with culture and environment lagging behind with a score of 87.3.

Calgary saw its culture and environment score drop 2.7 points from 2022 to 2023 while seeing a rise in stability by 1.8 points. Increased stability was consistent across the board for the three Canadian cities in the top 10.

“In the Canadian cities of Vancouver (5th), Calgary (joint 7th) and Toronto (9th), scores for stability are up compared with last year, when these cities were impacted by anti-vaccine protests,” according to The Global Liveability Index 2023 summary.

Geraldine Anderson, VP Marketing and Communication, Strategy and Strategic Alliances with CED, said Calgary has to be a city that is future looking and invests in itself to stay ahead.

“We have a lot going for us but we cannot forget that we are competing on the global stage so we cannot take our foot off the pedal in any regard,” she said.

Culture and environment drop

The liveability rankings cover broad areas, and the Culture and Environment category where the city dropped tallies a wide range of factors.

The section, which is weighted 25 per cent of the index mark, covers the following: Humidity and temperature, discomfort of climate to travellers, corruption, social or religious restrictions, censorship, sports availability, cultural availability, food and drink and consumers goods and services.

Calgary did score in the high 80s, meaning there are few, if any challenges to living standards in this category. The report summary didn’t break down which sub-areas Calgary dropped.

Still, Anderson said recent investment commitments – like the Event Centre project – demonstrate that the city is addressing areas that are covered under the culture and environment category. The city is also looking a potentially adding a massive multisport fieldhouse that can host international competitions, but still be a venue for community activities.

There are also millions of dollars in investments downtown, with the vision to create vibrant new spaces in the city.

“I think investments like that further position Calgary as a world-class city and will continue to attract companies and talent and people and I think that’s what we need to really focus on,” she said.

Anderson said Calgary’s still a global player; we’ve been in the top 10 since 2008. In the bid for global talent, the city has to continue showing it’s a cut above.

“We can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” she said.

“We have to realize that every other city is competing, and we are in that fierce competition.”

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