While the Republic drops two places to number 37 in the EIU rankings, experts warn that they do not attach credibility to global surveys
When housewife Belinda Carlson moved to Singapore four years ago with her accountant and two children aged five and seven, she could not believe how well the city was planned.
"Back home in Perth, we just had to drive to the train station to take the train to the city," said the 37-year-old.
"In Singapore, however, we did not feel the need to buy a car, I can buy so many buses just outside my house and the best part is, the whole route from my front door to the bus stop is sheltered, so I have no problems , rain or sunshine. "
Her will, typical of many emigrants here, is the reason behind Singapore's continued high ranking on annual global surveys that rank cities in terms of quality of life.
The Global Liveability Survey of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that Singapore's overall score has increased in a year, from 90.4 to 91.2 now, and this year to No. 37.
In the EIU survey, countries are assessed and assigned a score for more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors in five broad categories: stability, health, culture and the environment, education and infrastructure.
The assessments are compiled and weighted to give a score of 100 and the country is then ranked.
Singapore also performed well in another survey earlier this year.
It remained its position as the Asian city with the highest quality of life, according to research firm Mercer's Quality of Living Human Resources Research Office. Worldwide it was 25th.
Despite the consistently strong displays from Singapore, there is still room for improvement.
In the EIU survey published last week, the Singapore ranking fell by two zeros, from 35 to 37, although the overall rating has improved.
Said Mr. Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the EIU: "This year, Singapore saw improvement in the public health category with the highest possible score, but the ranking fell as some other cities generally improved during the year. .
"One example was Hong Kong, which was upgraded in the stability category, which has a higher weight than health care." As a result, Hong Kong shot up from the 45th place to the 35th place this year in a year.
"Singapore is marked in comparison with Vienna, the top city, because of the higher level of censorship and lower levels of social freedom – for example, restrictions on protesting and activities of non-governmental organizations," said Mr. Baptist.
The Center for Liveable Cities of the National Development Ministry said that Singapore will continue to strive for the results that have been laid down in the quality of life of the center.
The spokesperson said: "What we continue to work for is a competitive economy to attract investment and jobs, a sustainable environment to survive with our limited natural resources and a high quality of life, including the social and psychological well-being of the population. . "
Retired Alfred Hong, 65, however, thought that Singapore is dealing with the risks of too rapid a development.
"In recent years we have seen a number of problematic situations, such as flooding in some areas and frequent defects of the MRT trains, which can have a general effect on how the liveability of Singapore is experienced by citizens," he said.
"Although we need to keep improving, this should not happen at a rate that can not be sustained, which will cause problems … in the future."
Experts also warned of too much credibility in such surveys, and noted that when people evaluate the viability of a city, they do not just look at where it is in global rankings.
Said Professor David Chan, director of the Behavioral Sciences Institute at Singapore Management University: "Although inter-city comparison is not irrelevant, it is a change in liveability in the city that is more or even more important in the course of time.
"We tend to think about liveability in terms of the objective circumstances of the living environment, but fundamentally, liveability is about the expectations of people, encounters and experiences when they interact with their living environment, including the physical, cultural, social and political domain" .
He added, "So although international comparisons of cities can be useful for benchmarking and learning purposes, we should not be fixated on these international rankings and rely too much on them to encourage government policy and city planning."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.