Friday, 17 June 2011

World's Most Livable City Burns

Rioting and looting left cars burned, stores in shambles and windows shattered throughout the city center as police fired tear gas to control the mob.  One hundred and fifty were injured and close to 100 were arrested.  Three stabbings were reported and one victim sustained serious head injuries.  Nine police officers were hurt.  Fifteen cars were burned, including two police cruisers.  Perhaps as many as 50 businesses were ransacked, with damages easily climbing into the millions.

The local police chief described the instigators as "criminals and anarchists."  "Organized hoodlums bent on creating chaos, incited the riot," said the mayor.

The rabble was not roused by the burning of holy books by foreign occupiers.  It was not in reaction to brutal and repressive Middle East dictators.  Nor was it against the imposition of harsh austerity measures within a currency bloc.  No, these riots were in response to cross border aggression against cultural heritage.  On Wednesday the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final (that's ice hockey) to the Boston Bruins.  

It was only four months ago that The Economist awarded Vancouver, for the fifth straight year, the title of the world's most livable city, with Melbourne ranking a close second.  The accompanying report explained what makes a high-ranked city:
Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32.
Unfortunately, in this case, recreation led directly to high crime levels.  But, chin up Vancouver, while Most Livable City 2012 might have just slipped away, there's always next year for the Cup.  In the meantime, all the non-anarchists can hide out in Melbourne.


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