The Swiss dolce vita: Zurich and Geneva at the top

Respectively ranked second and eighth in the Mercer survey, Zurich and Geneva figure among the capital cities of quality of life.

We are getting used to see Zurich  and Geneva ranking at the top of the chart of most liveable cities in the world. This year too, the two cities, which were already listed in the past, along with Bern, among the examples of virtuous cities, proudly figures  among the first ten cities, respectively ranking second and eighth in the survey published by London consultancy company Mercer human resource consulting.




The two Swiss capitals, respectively the first and second most inhabited Swiss cities, got a high ranking in spite of a significant drawback: a very high cost of living, due particularly to the pitfalls of real estate market, which is really expensive in both cities.


However, Zurich and Geneva boast excellent scores in many quality indexes taken into account by analysts: safety, absence of crime, few strikes, timely public transport with airports very close to city centresgood schools, as well as fair waiting time for electricians or plumbers’ interventions at home, and, above all, many cinemas and theatres providing an extensive cultural offer, such as the Geneva Grand  Théâtre sumptuous lyrical programme, the concert and exhibitions at Bâtiment des Forces Motrices (a remarkable example of industrial archaeology converted to a theatre with 1000 seats), or the historical Zurich  Schauspielhaus, just to mention the most noteworthy examples.


Indeed, both cities focus primarily on ecological safeguard: there is a low rate of pollutioncar traffic is limited and not stiflingand, especially, urban green areas are easily accessible, very copious and well maintained. Geneva alone has 310 hectares of green areas (i.e. 20% of whole surface), among which Parc La Grange, Jardin Anglais, Parc des Bastions and many other, scattered in the different boroughs and located mostly in the lake front and mainly coming from former private properties offered or sold to the public administration over the years.


The establishment of such “people-oriented” cities is seemingly due to precise historical reasons: the federalist structure of Switzerland, its gradual industrialisation, the absence of imperialist or colonialist targets, therefore its widely known tradition of neutrality. So, which are the small imperfections or disadvantages in Swiss lifestyle? The early dinner time of authentic Swiss people, for instance, but nobody is perfect.

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