Each year when I read about these rankings I feel like running around screaming “Stupid, stupid, STUPID”, so I guess I just have to get this one out of my system – even though most of it is pretty self-evident:
Reading the fine print, these rankings are geared towards companies that send employees abroad. For that they do a reasonable guess, I suppose, but as described in the press (e.g. here and here) they basically offer a chance for people to thumb themselves on the chest and look down on the poor suckers how live in less desireable places. I think this is especially true for Vancouver – maybe because a lot of people move there from elsewhere and want their choice to be validated. In German cities a much larger fraction of the population is native and thus simply loves the place they grew up in. I guess the same is true for natives of Bagdad – even if they feel compelled to leave
Personal quality of living is mainly determined by your social network – I am happier in Frankfurt than in Vancouver not because Frankfurt offers better overall quality of living but because more of my friends and family are closer. If you know good people and have access to a reasonable amount of money life anywhere in the western world is pretty good. So maybe more attention should be given to how a society treats people that neither have a social network nor access to enough money. East Hasting comes to mind.
Finally, a factor that does not get enough weight for my taste is that in Frankfurt five of the other top ten cities are less than seven hours away by train. Vancouver doesn’t even have a useful train connection…
… and yes, I do miss Vancouver.