Vienna has again been crowned the world’s most liveable city on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Index for 2019.
The Austrian capital, which attracts tourists for its classical music scene and imperial history but also has abundant green spaces and excellent public services, last year ended Melbourne's seven-year run at the top of the survey of 140 cities, helped by an improved security outlook across Europe.
Melbourne came in second this year, with Sydney close behind at third - which is an improvement on the harbour city’s rank of fifth last year.
"Sydney has risen from fifth to third, thanks to an improvement in its culture and environment score, reflecting an increased focus on combating and mitigating the impacts of climate change, as outlined by the city's 'Sustainable Sydney 2030' strategy," the EIU said.
It poured cold water on Sydney's prospects of overtaking Melbourne, however.
"With both cities already scoring very highly across all categories, there is only limited potential for Sydney to displace either Melbourne or Vienna at the top of the rankings. No other city in the top ten saw a change to its score."
Japan's Osaka was fourth, followed by three Canadian cities - Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Toronto was tied with Tokyo for seventh place. Copenhagen and Adelaide in South Australia rounded out the top 10.
What’s the ranking based on?
The EIU's index ranks cities by five headline criteria. Stability, and culture and environment, are the two most important categories, weighted equally at 25 percent of the total.
Healthcare and infrastructure are also matched at 20 per cent, with education coming in last with a 10 percent weighting.
"Paris in France is the highest-ranked city to have seen a deterioration in its stability score, owing to the ongoing anti-government gilets jaunes protests that began in late 2018," the EIU said of the French anti-government movement.
Paris slid six places to 25th, from 19th last year.
The culture and environment scores were reduced for many cities in poorer countries that are among the most exposed to the effects of climate change, including New Delhi and Cairo for their poor air quality.
Damascus in war-torn Syria remained the worst-ranked city, below Lagos in Nigeria and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, which swapped places.
Reporting by AAP
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