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Vancouver now only No. 3 in the world — thank goodness

August 30th, 2011 · 17 Comments

Great flapping about the fact that Vancouver has dropped from the No 1 spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s rankings of global cities for the first time in nine years.

Follow-up questions to the Economist have revealed that the reason for Vancouver’s .7 lower score is traffic problems on the Malahat Highway. Yes, that one, on Vancouver Island. Sadly for the NPA, sniffing around for a good election grenade, it wasn’t because of traffic congestion caused by the Hornby bike lane.

Personally, I’m relieved. I’m so tired of people constantly droning on about Vancouver being No. 1, as though that was the clincher for all arguments. The No. 1 tag doesn’t impress those who are struggling with some of the city’s most significant problems: high housing costs, the mess in the Downtown Eastside, and a regional economy that hasn’t found its way yet.

I’m not particularly impressed with the Economist’s ranking criteria, either, which acknowledges that it tends to favour medium-sized cities with “low densities.” As I said on NW this morning, presumably that means that as the city and region get more dense — something that is a goal in local plans — it will drop even further.

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