What happens when you combine a cup of infrastructure, a dash of opportunity, a spoonful of rapid technological advancement, and mix them with the globalized economy?
According to the World Economic Forum, these are the ingredients necessary to create an environment to promote long-term success.
With these findings, the WEF comprised a list of the top 30 cities positioned for long-term success, with Toronto being Canada’s strongest representative in the nine spot. Vancouver, meanwhile, scored a very respectable 19th. Is respectable enough for a city seemingly brimming with ambition?
While infrastructure, opportunity, and technological advancement can be the catalyst for development and transformation within a city, not every city commits the time and energy to promote them effectively. In other words, these factors’ presence alone does not always ensure success. In an ever-changing global economy driven by increasing dependency on technology and digital accessibility, the world’s urban centres must all fight to attract the highest level of talent while maintaining a degree of competitiveness that ensures and nurtures growth and development.
The information used to determine the WEF’s ranking was drawn from the City Momentum Index 2018. This index seeks to identify the front-running cities in the innovation economy by researching essential factors such as education, environment, tech firms, infrastructure and international patents. Each city is measured against these metrics to predict long-term success.
Why Isn’t Vancouver Higher Up on the List?
Vancouver ranks highly in its capacity to establish a friendly environment for startup businesses but is severely dinged for its poor housing score and cost of living. According to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the city receives points for being clean, culturally diverse, and accessible to regions such as Asia. However, housing is unaffordable with high business tax rates on capital and relatively low after-tax incomes. The Canadian Rental Housing Index states that, in Greater Vancouver, for someone with a salary between $24,000-$49,000, 30 to 35 per cent of that money goes directly to rent and utilities.
This ranking is exciting for younger people looking for a reason to head to Vancouver in search of greater opportunity, but crippling housing prices continue to be a challenge for Millennials who to live here. According to LowestRates.ca, if one were to consider the cost of transportation (public transit passes or individual tickets), food, housing and fitness, the low end of the sweet spot for Millennials to survive in Vancouver is around $2,800 a month. Remember, this is the low end – renting a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver will set you back more than $2,000 a month on average.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
It might seem as though there are more cons than pros, but Vancouver is still a fantastic and vibrant place to live. With an unparalleled combination of nature and infrastructure, residents live the best of both worlds. Though competitive and ever-increasing housing prices are a detriment, they also demonstrate the eagerness and determination young people bring to the city they choose to live in. Being a transplanted resident of Vancouver, I indulge in the bias that nothing beats living on the West Coast. With its diverse culture, laid-back nature, and love of all things adventure, Vancouver is a city like no other. The atmosphere is contagious, and although city living has its challenges, there is plenty of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and put themselves out there. I guarantee that once you do, you will understand why Vancouver made the list of cities for long-term success – and why finishing 19th isn’t all that bad.