It’s official. Port au Prince is not the very worst city in the world to relocate


expat-pkg-logo_tag1It’s reassuring that Port au Prince is not the very worst city in the world to which to relocate. In fact, it’s joined in bottom place by Baghdad and Bangui. So says Mercer, the American company that conducts an annual Quality of Living survey “to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.”

The survey was released last month and looks at factors such as political stability, crime and pollution in 223 cities.

And it found Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver to be the very best places to live.

Or move to.

We’ve discussed the notion of expat heaven in this blog before. It is a state of being that is emphatically not the experience of those who live in a city all the time. If you live somewhere the whole time, you create networks and systems to ease the organic lived reality of life in that place – with all its dust, dolorous systems, disorder and daredevil driving. Which isn’t to say Port au Prince, Baghdad and Bangui aren’t the hardest places in the world to live, but I can imagine creating my own system if I lived here in the Haitian capital all the time.

Remember the main criticism of city liveability indices, such as that routinely created by The Economist? How do you measure a city and who for? People who live there all the time; half the time; or for a limited period? Who judges what makes a city liveable? Someone who’s lived there always? Or might it be better assessed by people who’ve moved around so much they have many other cities to compare with?

Jack Kerouac

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac