A city of two classes
Earlier this week, the Australian city Melbourne was named ‘the most liveable city’ for the seventh consecutive year by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
In a new report by the Economist Group, Melbourne received an impressive score of 97.5 out of 100 in terms of its liveability, which took into account factors such as healthcare, culture infrastructure and education. However, how many of its residents have access to these ‘world class’ facilities?
In many respects, it is undoubtedly an impressive city on the up, with 100,000 new jobs created in the state in 2016 and a strong economy to account for. It has become a magnet for business with thousands of people moving from Sydney over the years with ‘brain drain’ a major factor in the inward migration.
However, beneath all this is a growing divide between two classes which is becoming more and more noticeable today. Alarmingly, homelessness in Melbourne has risen rapidly in the years between 2014 to 2016 showing an increase of 74%. There is exposure of inequality around the city with thousands of rough sleepers taking shelter in the main streets, highlighting the extend of the housing crisis which is in desperate need of reform.
The state, Victoria has now recorded a huge 35,000 people who are on the waiting list for public housing. Whilst there have been various housing projects taking place over the last few years, the demand is severely outstripping the supply of housing stock.
The way of living is changing in Melbourne and is heavily favouring the richer and pushing out families on an average income. Households who have been living in the suburbs for generations are now also being priced out by the fast-growing housing market. With the population of 4.4 million continuing to grow at a rapid rate, it will soon mirror the unaffordable housing market in Sydney.
Although Melbourne is performing well economically, taking top spot as the most liveable city for a record number of years, it doesn’t seem right when many ordinary people in the city are struggling to keep their homes amidst a raft of wealthy newcomers.
Could the tag of ‘the most liveable city’ be recognition of the global elite? This looks more likely as time goes on…