Measuring Abu Dhabi’s liveability using the global liveable city index (GLCI), Khee Tan and Sujata Kaur
Khee Giap Tan, Sujata Kaur
Asia Competitiveness Institute, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore, Singapore
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to use a newly developed Global Liveable Cities Index (GLCI), to assess how Abu Dhabi ranks among global cities. The paper sheds some light on the strengths and weaknesses associated with the city’s emergence as a global city, as identified by the index.
Design/methodology/approach: This paper makes use of a new measure of liveability – the GLCI – to rank the world ' s major cities. The GLCI advances the measurement of the “Liveability” construct by taking into account the multi-dimensional sensibility of diverse groups of ordinary persons across 64 cities. The paper also conducts policy simulations to help aid city planners invest in areas with low scores in the GLCI.
Findings: The results from the analysis show Abu Dhabi as a city that has a lot more potential than what most conventional city benchmarking exercises have revealed. It is a city with immense potential in the region by not just being the driver of growth but also being a nodal center for attraction of global talent. It is fast growing into a city of opportunity and already satisfies the characteristics of an emerging global city with a lot of regional attention. The empirical results also find that its potential has been clearly under-rated by many existing studies and indices primarily because of their narrow scope in measuring liveability. The GLCI results brought together multiple indicators to devise an index that is strongly based on a combination of analytical and philosophical values. Taking stock of the rankings of Abu Dhabi using the GLCI so far as well as the policy simulations, one can conclude that Abu Dhabi has multiple strengths as an aspiring global city. The results also indicate that one area that has been consistently identified as lacking in Abu Dhabi is that of environmental sustainability.
Originality/value: While cities have always played a historic role in powering economic growth in some form or the other, the scale of expansions and the speed at which it is happening today appears unprecedented. While a considerable number of indices benchmarking cities exist, they are rather narrow in scope. None of them model liveability from the perspective of an ordinary person with multi-dimensional sensibilities toward issues like economic well-being, social mobility, personal security, political governance, environmental sustainability and aesthetics for a more representative coverage of major cities around the world. These factors are critical measures of “liveability” of a city that in turn elevates it to the status of a global city. This paper thus makes an original contribution to the literature on understanding global cities by applying a newly developed GLCI to assess how Abu Dhabi ranks among global cities. The paper sheds some light on the strengths and weaknesses associated with the city’s emergence as a global city, as identified by the index.
Keywords: Abu Dhabi; Liveability; City benchmarking; Economic competitiveness.
Citation: Tan, K.G. and Kaur, S. (2016), "Measuring Abu Dhabi’s liveability using the global liveable city index (GLCI)", World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 205-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJSTSD-11-2015-0054