Where are the world’s best cities for wellbeing?

A new report from Knight Frank has ranked the world’s cities based on a number of “wellness” factors, and Europe dominated the top 10.

Where we live can have a much bigger impact on our lives than many of us realise. Living close to a green space can boost our mental health while being part of an active community can help us to avoid the effects of loneliness. 

The potential quality of life and “wellness” a city can offer us is incredibly important. Alongside job prospects and house prices, we’re looking for a city that can provide us with the best living experience possible.

Estate agency Knight Frank has compiled a “City Wellbeing Index” for the first time, which ranks the world’s cities based on the quality of life they offer. The company rated the cities on eight key categories– green space, annual hours of sunshine, traffic congestion, happiness, quality of healthcare, work-life balance and governance – in order to discern which places were winning on the wellbeing front. 

Norway’s capital of Oslo claimed the top spot for its high percentage of green space and low levels of traffic congestion. In joint second place was Finland’s capital Helsinki and Switzerland’s largest city Zurich, with Helsinki scoring the maximum 10/10 for happiness.

The rest of the top 10 was dominated by European cities, with the likes of Vienna, Madrid and Stockholm claiming fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively. The cities outside Europe that made the list were Sydney (which placed in joint seventh), Montreal (ninth) and Singapore, which came in tenth. As for UK cities, they performed pretty poorly. Edinburgh just made it into the top 20 in 19th place, and London came in at 24. 

The top 10 are as follows:

1. Oslo


2. Zurich, Switzerland

4. Vienna

5. Madrid

6. Stockholm

7. Amsterdam

7. Sydney

9. Montreal

10. Singapore

It’s no surprise that the Scandinavian countries fared so well on this index: it’s widely reported that the Scandinavian way of living is great for our mental and physical health.

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you up sticks and move halfway around the world based on the data in one report, but it’s interesting to consider what makes a city such a great place to live.

Earlier this year, Scandinavian cities dominated a list of the most liveable cities in the world, which ranked locations on factors including their infrastructure, personal safety, leisure facilities and political tensions. 

Images: Unsplash

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