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Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary named among the best places to live: The Economist

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TORONTO - Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as some of the best places to live in the world, according to a report by The Economist.

In the annual poll, the magazine's Intelligence Unit ranked Vancouver as the third most livable city in the world; followed by Toronto at number four, and Calgary tied for fifth place with Adelaide, Australia.

Melbourne, Australia topped the list of 140 cities for the fourth year in a row, with Vienna, Austria coming in second overall.

The Economist ranks the cities on 30 factors across various categories, including stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

Rounding out the top 10 were Sydney, Australia, Helsinki, Finland, Perth, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.

The report noted the world's most livable cities were often mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with low population density.

"This can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure," said the report. "Eight of the top 10 scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, with population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per square kilometres respectively."

It also pointed out that although crime rates may be on the rise in some of the top-tier cities, it wasn't in the case in all the top 10 cities.

Vancouver was an example where crime has been steadily decreasing after the city hit a decade-long decline in the homicide rate to a record low in 2013.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, human rights violations and conflict were responsible for many of the reasons for the bottom 10 cities on the list.

Damascus, Syria was ranked the least livable city in the world, preceded by Dhaka, Bangladesh, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Lagos, Nigeria and Karachi, Pakistan.

"Conflict is responsible for many of the lowest scores. This is not only because stability indicators have the highest single scores, but also because factors defining stability spread to have an adverse effect on other categories," said the report.

"For example, conflict will not just cause disruption in its own right, it will also damage infrastructure, overburden hospitals, and undermine the availability of goods,services and recreational activities."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly referred to Vancouver's homicide rate.

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