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Old 05-27-2011, 11:44 AM
 
86 posts, read 250,440 times
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This question has confused me for a long time.

In almost every "quality of life" or "best livable city" lists conducted by consulting companies or world organizations, none American cities ever commands any top or near top positions; on other hand, there are so many extremely wealthy and vibrant US cities that offer different lifestyles different people want. What are on the top lists are always Northern and Central European cities, Australian cities and Canadian cities, such as Zurich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Melbourne, Vancouver. Even a boring city (in my view) like Calgary and Ottawa are ranked much higher than New York or San Francisco.

I would choose San Francisco over Vancouver, or New York over Ottawa without a second of hesitation. Or maybe it is just me?

What is missing here? Is there some sort of consistent bias against US cities in general? My only guess is the lack of universal health care (which is paid via higher tax in other countries in an mandatory way) and higher crime rate.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,760 posts, read 9,624,183 times
Reputation: 7902
The US government and funding has been very anti-city and pro-suburban during the latter 50 years of the 20th century. Only recently are people realizing the many benefits of having healthy and stable cities with a focus on public transportation. America already has a strong line-up of cities and things hopefully will continue to improve.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Parkridge, East Knoxville, TN
462 posts, read 907,767 times
Reputation: 354
Because American cities have been built for automobiles rather than people. The ratio of park space to Parking space is utterly dismal and says a lot about our modern priorities in the US.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:24 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
8,973 posts, read 17,001,739 times
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American cities have greater socio economic divides than Canadian cities.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:16 AM
 
199 posts, read 289,863 times
Reputation: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by evissone View Post
This question has confused me for a long time.

In almost every "quality of life" or "best livable city" lists conducted by consulting companies or world organizations, none American cities ever commands any top or near top positions; on other hand, there are so many extremely wealthy and vibrant US cities that offer different lifestyles different people want. What are on the top lists are always Northern and Central European cities, Australian cities and Canadian cities, such as Zurich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Melbourne, Vancouver. Even a boring city (in my view) like Calgary and Ottawa are ranked much higher than New York or San Francisco.

I would choose San Francisco over Vancouver, or New York over Ottawa without a second of hesitation. Or maybe it is just me?

What is missing here? Is there some sort of consistent bias against US cities in general? My only guess is the lack of universal health care (which is paid via higher tax in other countries in an mandatory way) and higher crime rate.
What you would choose is irrelevant. They are based on objective measures, like crime rates, life expectancy, access to healthcare, recreational facilities per capita, etc. The United States just doesn't do as well as Canada or Australia in most of these measures.

W.R.T. Canada, the United States and Canada were actually quite similar until about 40 years ago. But since then, they've been going in opposite directions.

The U.S. has been mostly against "large" federal government, more conservative, letting physical infrastructure decline (highways, bridges, etc., plus not expanding transit as much, and even cutting transit services in 80% of American cities in the last 5 years), pro "gun rights", hundreds of "gated communities" have been built, there is STILL no true universal healthcare, weak social safety net, etc. Canada has been going more "European" over the last 40 years.

If you prefer the American way, that's fine. But it does not help the United States in any of these rankings (The Economist, Mercer, etc.).
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
31,575 posts, read 52,497,720 times
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The criteria usually does not compliment US cities.

For the record, Paris and London also rank in the same level as most US cities so I wouldnt put too much weight on these rankings of quality of life.

Quality of Life and Desirability are two different things.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:32 AM
 
199 posts, read 289,863 times
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Canada and America

ORONTO, Dec. 1 — Canadians and Americans still dress alike, talk alike, like the same books, television shows and movies, and trade more goods and services than ever before. But from gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values.

A more distinctive Canadian identity — one far more in line with European sensibilities — is emerging and generating new frictions with the United States.

"Being attached to America these days is like being in a pen with a wounded bull," Rick Mercer, Canada's leading political satirist, said at a recent show in Toronto. "Between the pot smoking and the gay marriage, quite frankly it's a wonder there is not a giant deck of cards out there with all our faces on it."

....

Chris Ragan, a McGill University economist, observed: "You can be a social conservative in the U.S. without being a wacko. Not in Canada."

....

Recently, while musing about his retirement plans, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said he might just kick back and smoke some pot. "I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand," he said with a smile. The glibness of the remark made it nearly impossible to imagine an American president uttering it. But in a nation where the dominant west coast city, Vancouver, has come to be known as Vansterdam, few Canadians blinked.

....

The changes in marriage and drug laws, said Michael Adams, a Toronto consultant and polling expert, "means Canada is moving in the opposite direction with the United States and closer to Europe."
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:17 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
211 posts, read 337,054 times
Reputation: 313
Because Americans are never satisfied with anything. They always want better. That's why they're Americans. It's genetic.

If you think about it, historically, Americans are made up of people all over the world who were not happy with where they were. They decided that there was something better out there, and made the decision to come to America to find that better life. We're never satisfied, because we always strive for something better. That's our gene pool, and it's part of what makes our country so great.

Everyone in the other countries are full of people who descended from folk were either too timid to make the trip or satisfied with where they were. Timid people are easily satisfied and satisfied people are.. .well... satisfied.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Near L.A.
4,114 posts, read 8,795,799 times
Reputation: 3294
I'm not a loony right guy but let's fact it, these so-called "quality of life" polls are determined by variables that (what we would consider in this country) the left wing sees fit.

That's why the bed-wetters who love what Norway, Denmark, Sweden, France, Finland and other countries have accomplished are liberals. They go ga-ga.

Before somebody tells me to go back to Fox News (a network I don't much care for), step back, assess and tell me that I'm not correct.
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:34 PM
 
5,522 posts, read 13,433,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galactic View Post
Because Americans are never satisfied with anything. They always want better. That's why they're Americans. It's genetic.

If you think about it, historically, Americans are made up of people all over the world who were not happy with where they were. They decided that there was something better out there, and made the decision to come to America to find that better life. We're never satisfied, because we always strive for something better. That's our gene pool, and it's part of what makes our country so great.

Everyone in the other countries are full of people who descended from folk were either too timid to make the trip or satisfied with where they were. Timid people are easily satisfied and satisfied people are.. .well... satisfied.
So everthing is frozen in time? Because my ancestors left central Europe in the mid-19th century over dissatisfaction with their situations, that automatically makes me and all the other living relatives of these people "never satisfied"??? I don't think so. Yes, I may want better than what my country is today, but it's because I can think, not because my great great great, etc. grandfather decided life in 1860's Europe sucked.
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