SUNDAY TIMES - Durban retains top spot as SA city with highest quality of life
Sunday Times News By Staff Reporter, Reuters, 2016-02-23 11:26:19.0

Durban retains top spot as SA city with highest quality of life

Durban skyline.

For the second year in a row Durban was ranked higher than Johannesburg and Cape Town when it came to offering a 'high quality of life', according to a survey of world cities compiled by consulting firm Mercer.

The survey of 230 cities helps companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.

Durban led the pack in South Africa, ranking 85, followed by Cape Town at 92 and Johannesburg at 95.

Vienna, Austria's grand capital on the Danube river, offers the highest quality of life of all cities in the world, while the Iraqi capital Baghdad, once more, took its place at the bottom of the list.

Vienna's 1.7 million inhabitants benefit from the city's cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire are cheap compared with other western capitals.

Switzerland's Zurich, New Zealand's Auckland, Germany's Munich and Canada's Vancouver followed Vienna - which reached the best position for the seventh time in a row - in the top five of most pleasant cities to live in.

Baghdad was again ranked lowest in the world. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the city since the American-led invasion in 2003.