What makes a city livable? Transport, housing, health and environment. Matters of culture, entrepreneurship, crime and safety. Affordability and education. Depending on whose ‘livability index’ you look at, it may include design quality, sustainability and the digital infrastructures of the smart city. Other criteria applied may encompass food access, job opportunities or walkability. Inclusivity and the politics of participation also come into play.
The past two decades have seen an exponential rise of livability measures. Reflecting increased urbanity globally, they risk making the notion of the city ever more contested. The two cities that host this event are cases in point. The Mercer Livability Ranking takes New York as the datum by which all other cities globally are graded – as better or worse. London, by contrast, measures itself: the London Assembly scoring everything from air quality to indices of deprivation. When we consider the livability of cities then, it is clear we are dealing with a plethora of issues – both isolated and, inevitably, interconnected.
LIVABLE CITIES – New York, is the first of two related events. Held in New York, June 2023 it will be followed by LIVABLE CITIES – London in June 2024. In both New York and London we will examine the issues above from various angles. We will examine how we live in cities, and how every issue we encounter morphs with considerations of others: housing, architecture, urban planning, public health and more.