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The Quality of Life in European Cities 2020 report is out

It confirms trends in European way of life but also geographic divides

  • October 13, 2020 16:00
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium city view

Earlier today, 13 October, an online session at the European Week of Regions and Cities saw the presentation of the new report on the Quality of Life in European Cities. It sought to answer many questions related to urban living on the Old Continent and to summarize the trends and results. The 100-page report was divided into 7 thematic chapters treating different aspects of European city life and what the feelings, perceptions and opinions of residents could tell us about the reality on the ground.

This is the 5th edition of the report published by the European Commission

The surveys covered 83 cities from the European Union, EFTA and member candidate countries, such as Turkey. Here are the main conclusions from the seven chapters:

  • Satisfaction of living in the city: 9 out of 10 people are satisfied, the rate being higher in non-capital cities and lower in cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Northern European cities show the greatest satisfaction. However, the biggest rate of improvement in terms of satisfaction was in Eastern Europe.
  • Getting a job, earning a living: 50% of respondents think it’s easy to find a job in western and northern EU cities compared to 20% in southern EU cities. Finding good housing at a favourable price seems to be easier in smaller and non-capital cities, with Athens showing the best opportunities for that among capitals, where some 60% of respondents said it is easy. On the other hand, Scandinavian capitals’ residents found it hard. This is inverse, however, to satisfaction with one’s financial situation, which is worse in Athens and best in Scandinavia.
  • Healthy city: Air quality, noise level, cleanliness. The results show that nearly 2/3 of citizens of European cities are satisfied with the levels of those in their cities. Highest satisfaction with air quality is in non-capital cities, and the North fares better than the South. Least satisfied are people in Balkan capitals, and most satisfied those in Dublin. Most satisfied with cleanliness are Luxembourg residents and the least in Rome and Palermo.
  • Safe and inclusive city: More people feel safe in small cities, and again satisfaction is higher in northern and western cities vs southern ones. Scandinavian cities reporting highest trust in others and walking alone, the lowest rates are in Sofia, Athens and Rome. Non-capital cities are seen as better for young families and raising children, with Leipzig and Braga taking top positions.
  • Natural and built-up amenities: 83% of Europeans are satisfied with cultural facilities in their cities. Southern Europe is the least satisfied. Residents with the best access to green areas have the most satisfaction with them, the best here being Luxembourg. Healthcare satisfaction shows a clear divide between West and East.
  • Urban Mobility: Cars are used less in the capitals (due to more congestion, expensive parking, wider transit networks), and overall, 75% of residents are satisfied with public transport. Dutch and Danish cities are among the only ones with high shares of daily bicycle usage. Braga and La Valletta report highest car usage. The more people are satisfied with public transport in their city (the two essential factors being frequency and reliability), the more they are satisfied to live there. The highest scoring capital is Vienna, the worst – Rome.
  • Quality of local public administration: Factors here were - the time it takes to get a request solved (people in non-capitals are more satisfied), procedures being straightforward and easy to follow (less in capitals, but also depends on the educational level of respondents) and agreeing that online services are easier to access (easier in northern and western EU cities).

The presentation concluded with the perception of corruption, with 50% of European citizens agreeing that there is corruption in local public administrations. This feeling has its strongest expression in the South and East, and by people residing in capital cities. The less corruption is perceived, the more satisfaction one feels with living there, with Copenhagen leading and Rome and Zagreb at the bottom.



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