Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A recent Monocle quality of life survey has come up with parameters for rating how liveable a city is. BT looks at how Bangalore fares

The city must have international long-haul connections with a well-managed, thoughtfully designed airport.
Berne and Munich topped the list in terms of how well their airports are planned and Paris scored high because of its international flight connections.
Bangalore, even taking into consideration the upcoming Devanahalli Airport, still has a long way to go. London has five airports, Paris hasn’t done away with its old airports after the new ones were built, but we’re already talking about shutting down the HAL airport. If Bangalore is to be compared with other cities in the world, not only should we keep the HAL airport, we also need another airport in the south of Bangalore. Meanwhile, the Devanahalli airport by itself is well-planned and if we have good connectivity to it by way of trains and better roads, we should be okay.
Captain Gopinath, MD of an airline
Crime: rates for murders and domestic burglaries
While Tokyo and Kyoto made the cut in this respect, most cities in the US were out of the running because of their high crime rates. Even London failed to make it because of its sub-standard housing, which meant that residents’ security was compromised.
In Bangalore, crime has doubled in the last 10 years. And if it’s plywood doors in the UK, it’s the lack of socialising that’s upped crime here. Lots of people migrate to Bangalore and practise a nuclear lifestyle where you don’t know your neighbours. Burglars walk in and out of homes without raising any suspicion. Affluent techies have become soft targets and a booming real estate market has created mafias. Police are short-staffed and helpless.
Prakruti Banwasi, special police officer
The quality of state education
The most liveable city would have Zurich and Helsinki’s level of state education.
Bangalore measures up quite well in terms of its educational institutes. We have the best institutes in terms of quality education and international recognition with IISc and IIM. Bangalore is a sought-after place for higher education in this country because of the weather and its tolerance to outsiders. However, it is this longstanding tolerance that is now causing the debate about whether English should be permitted to be a first language in government schools.
Dr MS Thimappa, former vice-chancellor of Bangalore University
Quality of health care
Zurich and Helsinki top the list again.
The main reason none of the cities in India qualifies is because of the way our health system is structured. We have no national health care systems. Even though there are several quality doctors and hospitals in the city, there are not enough channels for them to be absorbed. This means that several of them get into private practice and start charging exorbitant fees, prescribing brand drugs instead of their generic counterparts, and conduct unnecessary tests. So large numbers of people cannot access health care unless they can pay because they have no insurance and are not covered under a government programme.
Dr Ravi Narayan, community health advisor
Hours of sunshine and average temperatures
Sydney and Honolulu offered the best weather, whereas Zurich had a more rounded climate because it has four seasons.
The weather in Bangalore is comfortable overall. It’s not as extreme as Delhi or some other major world cities. But again, we are very close to the equator and are prone to sudden temperature changes and even rains. Still, since Bangalore is a hill station, the temperatures compare favourably with other cities. As far as daylight hours are concerned, Bangalore has plenty throughout the year.
Puttanna, meterologist
Communications and connectivity
Tokyo tops because of its Wi-Fi plans and so does Hamburg for its electronic media outlets.
We’re comparable with any of the top cities in the world like London, New York and San Francisco. We may however lag behind in public WiFi networks. But with mobile and line communications and connectivity, we’re up there with the best.
Rajesh Reddy, technocrat
UK cities have Cloud networks that make connectivity available anywhere. But with telecom, we are well networked and almost on par with the rest of the world.
Pradeep Kar, chairman & MD of an IT group
This was one aspect in which London did very well, as did Stockholm and Copenhagen, though the latter two admit to problems with integrating immigrants.
Bangalore has many faces. In the lower economic strata, there’s a lot of violence and ostracism. But among the upper classes, you have gay parties, albeit covert, taking place all over the city. But this may not be real tolerance, as it is more economically divined.
Vinay Chandran, gay rights activist
We’re tolerant because we are lazy and have a don’t-care attitude. That’s not real tolerance.
Rex, activist
Ease of getting a drink at 1 am
Madrid, Tokyo and Barcelona are THE places to be, if you want to experience a rocking nightlife.
We’re way down the ladder in this respect because of the 11.30 pm deadline. One of the things that makes a city vibrant and and liveable is entertainment, which Bangalore doesn’t have at all. I’m not talking only about being able to get a drink; even if you just want to sit down, have an iced tea and listen to a band at 1 am, you can’t do that. One of the biggest selling points for a city like New York is that it’s a city that never sleeps. Bangalore seems to do nothing but sleep.
Rohit Barker, entertainment Pro
Cost and quality of public transport and taxis
If you need to get around, a city must have Munich’s public transport and Copenhagen’s bike network.
Thanks to bad planning and lack of foresight on the part of our recent town planners our city suffers on this count. While creating transport infrastructure they haven’t taken into account the density of traffic. We have public transport, but it is inadequate and badly managed. Hopefully, as the city grows, better planning will prevail. We may not become a Toronto or even a Dublin, but we’ll be there.
Neeraj Chinnappa, automobile expert and e-governance consultant
Access to nature and key environmental issues
Geneva, Stockholm and Zurich have proximity to nature. At least 10 cities have made parks and trees a priority in their planning.
We had it all, but poor planning and haphazard growth has taken it away. No city in the world alters its city to accommodate a railway, but we’re doing it. No city touches its parks, but we are taking away parts of Lalbagh for our Metro. And once it comes up its going to damage our environment even more. But nobody seems to care. I think this is the worst attribute of Bangalore.
Leo Saldanha, environmentalist


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