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According to an annual quality of living survey released by Mercer (Mar 13), Singapore has stolen the top spot for the best quality of life in Asia.

Close behind are cities with the likes of Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya, followed by Hong Kong and Seoul.

Mercer’s annual Quality of Living survey evaluates local living conditions in more than 450 cities around the world.

The consulting company based the survey on 39 factors such as political, social and economic climate, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public service and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing and natural environment.

According to the survey, Singapore (yes, keep the flag flying for Singapore) is also the safest place in Asia.

Mario Ferraro, Mercer ‘s regional practice leader for global mobility, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, told the Business Times that Singapore is continuously improving the standard of living of its residents with greater connectivity and sustainability of resources.

“Considering its relatively small geographic footprint and the scarcity in resources, Singapore has had to think differently to remain competitive against the neighbouring emerging markets.”

– Mario Ferraro, Merger’s regional practice leader for global mobility.

Singapore’s initiatives for superior quality of living

Singapore’s executive director of the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), Mr Khoo Teng Chye was quoted by Today Singapore that there were three initiatives, which made a difference in Singapore’s living standard.

  • The first was a structured housing policy, which he said ensured everyone in Singapore has a home.
  • The second was being a clean city with adequate sewage and waste removal infrastructure.
  • The final initiative, Mr Khoo said, was the Government’s goal to build a Green Singapore.

Johor Bahru, take note

Meanwhile, Johor Bahru, in neighbouring Malaysia, is ranked 12th in Asia.

In a recent turn of events, Johor is currently battling a toxic chemical disaster as a result of illegal chemical dumping into the Kim Kim river.

The toxic chemicals were allegedly dumped at a location under a connecting bridge between Taman Pasir Putih and Taman Kota Masai, just around half a kilometre from two schools that were first affected.

Photo: The Star Online

According to Business Insider Malaysia, more than 1,000 people have been treated for breathing difficulties and the incident forced 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang district to shut down.

How other countries fair

Globally, the survey rated the Austrian city of Vienna as the best city to live in for the 10th year running, followed closely by Zurich, Switzerland. Clinching the joint positions of third place are the cities of Auckland in New Zealand, Munich in Germany, and Vancouver in Canada.

Other notable cities in Asia include Taipei (84), Shanghai (103), and Beijing (119).

Auckland (3), Sydney (10), Wellington (15), and Melbourne (16) all remain in the top 20.

In the Middle East, Dubai (74) continues to rank the highest for quality of living, followed by Abu Dhabi (78).

You go, Glenn Coco.