Thursday, 27 August 2015

Ranking Toronto: Does It Have an Impact?

Is it just me or has Toronto been ranked a lot lately? It seems that despite our serious transit misgivings and our back-from-the-brink city government, Toronto is a coveted city of sorts in international rankings. This year, it is also having a bit of a mini-moment with the PanAm Games and all of the infrastructure projects that were triggered from these Games. Sure, it's not as beautiful as San Francisco, and yes, it's not as centre-of-the-universe as New York, but damn, it sure is a livable place.

Don't believe me? Well, maybe you will believe The Economist that ranked Toronto #4 out of 140 cities for 2015. Such livability was based on stability, healthcare, culture & environment, and infrastructure. Of course, Canadian cities tend to do well in these liveable city  rankings. Vancouver was #3 and Calgary was #5.

If you don't like being #4, then you would be very proud that Toronto had finished #1 in the most livable cities in the world for 2015 according to the architecture and design trade publication Metropolis Magazine. This came from a team of so called urban experts who determine the ranking based on the best cities to live, work and play in.

Liveability is not the only ranking for Toronto in 2015. It ranks 8th out of 50 cities for safety. It ranks 20 out of 400 for cities with the best universities.

Back in 2014, we were #1 out of 50 cities as the most resilient city. Also back in 2014, Toronto was ranked as #10 for the world's most influential cities. In other words, Toronto, kills it when it comes to good governance, access to resources and its ability to change and cope with adverse issues.  It's not always number one, but we do seem to rise to the top when we stand beside other cities.

So, if you live in Toronto, this may make you feel a little proud, maybe even a little smug. All of this attention certainly reminds us that many people view this as one of the best cities in the world despite our winter, our ability to elect Rob Ford, and some poorly planned areas of the city.  Since this is primarily a real estate blog, these top rankings for Toronto do reflect on the real estate prices. If you live in a well ranked city, then it is going to be more expensive than ones that don't rank as well. These rankings do reflect a certain health of a city, and more importantly, the desirability to be here.

In the very simplest of terms, it says that people want to live here. It's not as desirable (or as expensive) as London, Paris, New York and San Francisco, but a city that scores so high on liveability is going to attract people, and make its neighbourhoods more competitive to buy property.  People want to live in liveable, safe, resilient cities. Cities like this make for diverse job options, creative economies and it makes a city more interesting - world renown film festivals, new restaurants opening daily, entertainment of many varieties, dessert festivals, Woofstock, gay sports leagues, Shakespeare in the Park, and the many, many languages spoken here.

It's not a perfect city by any stretch, and there is a long list of improvements that can be made including transit, affordable housing, better infrastructure and better governance. There is still a lot to do.  So, these rankings speak a little to Toronto's future. We are well set up. We are not the next Detroit, Athens or Moscow. Whether the future holds a recession or a price correction or none of these, Toronto will remain a desirable place to live for the immediate future, and this should make you sleep well at night if you live here.

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