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80 Characteristics of a Livable City

 , updated on February 06, 2023
A city is a large human settlement. These differ greatly by culture, landscape, urban design, public services, architecture, systems, institutions, infrastructure, heritage and quality of life. The overall experience of living in a city is known as livability. The following are common characteristics of a city that may add to its livability.
Advanced infrastructure
An international airport with ample flights
Art scene
Attractions - sites of interest and things to do
Beaches
Beautiful architecture
Blue space
Cafes
Childcare services
City culture e.g. local norms
City infrastructure is well maintained
Civic pride
Civility
Colleges, universities and institutions of higher education
Community diversity, interaction, inclusion and harmony
Community engagement - a lack of isolation such that neighbors know each other
Commute - commuting efficiency such as walking a few blocks to work
Cultural activities
Cultural heritage e.g. historical buildings
Cycling infrastructure
Diverse demographics - e.g. a city with a good mix of ages
Employment opportunities
Entertainment facilities
Festivals & events
Food options such as ample supermarkets
General tone and spirit of the city
Genius loci - architecture and urban design are unique to the area
Good air quality
Good water quality
Green space
Healthcare services
High paying jobs
Housing stock - e.g. many beautiful homes and apartments
Institutions
Lack of environmental damage such as former industrial sites
Libraries
Local government - diligent and accountable local government
Local resilience - local sources of water, food and energy
Low corruption
Low cost of living
Low crime
Low disaster risks
Low poverty rate
Low regulations / red tape for businesses
Low unemployment
Music scene
Natural surveillance - a sense that places are populated with people who will help out if something bad happens
Night architecture - a city that's beautiful at night
Night economy such as bars and pubs
Parks
Performing arts such as theaters
Places to play
Pleasant climate and weather
Privacy - people feel good about the security and monitoring systems in place or lack of these systems
Public services - quality of government services such as emergency services
Public space
Public transportation such as trains
Quality schools
Reasonable regulations - residents feel local rules are fair
Recreational facilities
Restaurants
Rich history
Rights and freedoms such as a right to access local beaches
Safety and security - a city that is reasonably safe and secure without being oppressive
Seasonal attractions - pleasant seasonal changes and events
Sense of community
Shopping
Sports facilities
Stable and reliable utilities
Start-up scene and entrepreneurial opportunities
Stimulative environments such as busy market streets
Sustainable levels of tourism
Thriving economy
Transportation links
Urban design - pleasant urban environments with features such as accessibility for people with disabilities
Urban forests
Walkability
Waste and recycling services
Waterfront areas
Youth culture such as street fashions

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