Vancouver, a coastal seaport in western Canada, is one of the most diverse cities in the country. A popular tourist destination and place to live, it is well-known for its scenery, climate, and friendly people. With a thriving economy, including its animation and film industry, it has also hosted a variety of international events, such as the 2010 Winter Olympics.
How is Vancouver performing in international rankings that measure the global power, business attractiveness and sustainability of cities, and their reputation?
In this Vancouver city guide:
- Vancouver’s reputation and performance as city brand
- The global influence and economic performance of Vancouver
- Vancouver’s performance in indices of environmental sustainability
- Vancouver as a hub for creativity and innovation
- How attractive for digital nomads?
Vancouver’s reputation and influence
Ranking 28th in the Global Power City Index (2017), Vancouver is the 2nd best-placed city in Canada. The city received a high score for Liveability (9th) and Environment (10th), in both cases the best position of any North American city. It scored lower on Economy, R&D, and Cultural Interaction. Its weakest point: Accessibility, where it ranked 38th.
The index also measures the attractiveness of cities for different audiences. Vancouver, according to the study, seems most attractive for artists (14th position), followed by researchers and managers (23rd), residents (26th), and visitors (35th).
Vancouver enjoys a strong reputation, ranking 5th in the City RepTrak (2017) study: the highest position of any North American city. Looking at the specific city functions covered by the study, Vancouver’s reputation is especially strong as a place to live and work, ranking 4th in this category.
In its first year of being included in the Ipsos Top Cities Index (2017), Vancouver scored 26th overall. It shared the 3rd position (together with Abu Dhabi and Stockholm) as a city for living, and 11th (together with Vienna) as a city to visit.
In the Resonance World’s Best Cities Report (2018) Vancouver ranked 29th overall, while leading the list in the People category, mainly thanks to its diverse population.
Economic performance of Vancouver
Ranked 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index (2018), Vancouver has improved its ranking since the study’s last edition. Among the top 15 cities assessed on industry sub-indices in this study, Vancouver ranked 13th for Investment Management, 14th for Insurance, and 15th for Professional Services.
The city ranks 109th in the 2018 Mercer Cost of Living Ranking, making Vancouver one of the more affordable cities in North America for expats.
Vancouver’s sustainability performance
With its overall ranking as 23rd, Vancouver is the best placed North American city in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (2016).
Contrary to many other cities, Vancouver scores higher on the People sub-index (23rd), than on the Profit sub-index (29th). Its best score (18th) is on the Planet sub-index.
The comparatively low score in the Profit category is mainly due to shortcomings in connectivity and economic development, according to the study.
The Green City Index (2012) which focuses exclusively on environmental aspects, ranked Vancouver 2nd on the list of U.S. and Canadian cities, right after San Francisco. This position is thanks to its strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which results in the lowest CO2 emissions per capita in the index, as well as the best air quality. The city also has targets for providing much more green spaces for its residents.
Innovation in Vancouver
Vancouver ranks 25th overall in the Innovation Cities Index (2018), holding 14th position in the Americas sub-index.
Although ranked 35th in the 2017 Global Cities Index (which studies the capacity of cities to disrupt through innovation), Vancouver’s potential for attracting and retaining talent, capital and ideas is higher, as illustrated by its 24th position in the category of “Global Cities Outlook”: a city’s future potential for innovation.
In the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (2018) Vancouver is described as a leading innovation hub with strengths especially in the cleantech, gaming, health and life sciences, and blockchain sectors.
How attractive for digital nomads?
Vancouver indeed is keen on providing green space for its citizens and visitors. The city is ranked 2nd in terms of green space and parks, by the Digital Nomad Index. Vancouver ranks 15th overall, out of 56 cities. In the category ‘migrant acceptance’ the city is ranked in the top 5.
High cost of living is one of the downsides of considering Vancouver as a destination for digital nomads, in addition to (lack of) sunshine hours (29th), according to the index.
The Digital Nomad List praises Vancouver for its racial tolerance, in addition to being very LGBT and women friendly. The same list states that the cold winters and the high costs of the city make it more of a challenge for digital nomads. Despite being listed as one of the more affordable North American cities by Mercer, it is still an expensive city.
Internet speed is good and cashless payments are widespread in Vancouver.
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