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Cakes, Donuts, Croissants

Can donuts make the world a better place to live?

They just might. Consider Vienna. The city has perfected the donut … the chocolate cake … croissant … strudel … and a zillion other calorific treats.

It has also been named the world’s best city for overall quality of life by the consulting firm Mercer in its 18th annual study of foreign workers’ overseas lifestyles.

For the seventh year running (2015), Vienna beat out major international cities including New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Rio and Dubai — none of which made it anywhere near the top 20.

Rounding out the top five spots are Zurich, Switzerland in second place, Auckland (3), New Zealand; Munich (4), Germany; and Vancouver (5) on Canada’s west coast.

The New York-based firm evaluated 440 cities worldwide on standards of safety, health, schools, recreation, environment, public services and consumer goods.

European Dominance

Researchers found that financial clouds looming over Europe have failed to dent the continent’s dominance of its list, while ongoing instability has consigned many Middle Eastern and Africa cities to the bottom rungs.

“Despite economic uncertainties, Western European cities continue to enjoy some of the world’s highest quality of living; they fill seven places in the top-10 list,” said Slagin Parakatil, the lead investigator.

Indeed in sixth place is the German city Dusseldorf, followed by Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9) and Sydney, Australia making 10th.

Paris is 37 on the list, two spots above London (39).

At 28, San Francisco is the highest ranking U.S. city, followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (35), Chicago (43) and New York (45).

Singapore is Asia’s highest ranking city, taking 26th place. Dubai (75) claims top ranking for the Middle East, while Africa’s only two destinations to make the top 100 are South Africa’s Cape Town (92) and Johannesburg (95).

Least Livable Places

Bringing up the rear of the 230 ranked cities are Khartoum, Sudan at 226; Port-au-Prince, Haiti (227); Sana’a, Yemen (228); Central African Republic’s Bangui (229); and Baghdad (230).

Mercer also ranked cities for delivering personal safety with Luxembourg taking top honors, jointly followed by Swiss capital Bern, Helsinki and Zurich.

Baghdad also came bottom of that list, with Damascus, the capital of civil war-ravaged Syria, just behind at 229.

Top and Bottom Rankings

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Sydney, Australia
11. Amsterdam, Netherlands
12. Wellington, New Zealand
13. Berlin, Germany
14. Bern, Switzerland
15. Toronto, Canada
16. Ottawa, Canada
17. Melbourne, Australia
18. Hamburg, Germany
19. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
20. Stockholm, Sweden
226. Khartoum, Sudan
227. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
228. Sana’a, Yemen
229. Bangui, Central African Republic
230. Baghdad, Iraq

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1. Baking more cakes can make the world a better place. Was the writer serious or joking? Why did he or she say this?

2. Has the number one position changed over the years?

3. The ranking is based only on culture, such as theaters, museums, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, promenades, plazas, squares. True or false?

4. Most of the top cities are world famous cities like New York, London, Paris, Tokyo; and American cities. Is this correct or wrong?

5. Besides Europe, what other regions had cities that scored highly?

6. Were the bottom ranked cities in one continent or region?


A. My city is a great place to live. Do you agree?

B. Has you city been changing (for the better) over the years?

C. Would you like to live in one of the highly ranked cities? Which city is ideal for you?

D. How could cities improve their quality of life?

E. What will happen in the future?

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