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What makes a city 'inclusive' and why is Zurich number one?

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Zurich has been named as the most inclusive city in the world, while some of the richest cities including London and New York just scrape into the top 40.

The Prosperity & Inclusion City Seal and Awards (PICSA) Index aimed to measure not just economic growth but also the quality and distribution of wealth across the city's inhabitants.

It looked at metrics including GDP per capita, personal safety, population with tertiary education, internet access, housing affordability (average monthly net salary over rent), environmental quality and availability of doctors.

It found that 15 of the 20 most inclusive cities are located in Europe and that Zurich, Switzerland, topped the table.

Bruno Lanvin, CEO at D&L Partners, the consulting firm which compiled the data, said that although the Swiss city is widely known for being expensive, "it scored impressively for work, housing, leisure, education, and safety."

The Austrian capital, Vienna, was ranked second, "scoring close to top marks on healthcare" due, in part, to an "extremely high density of physicians per capita, making it the home of one of Europe’s best healthcare systems, where there are virtually no waiting times for citizens."

Only two non-European cities made it into the top 10, Taiwan's Taipei and Canada's Ottawa, ranking sixth and eighth respectively.

Meanwhile, three US cities — Washington DC, Seattle and Boston — were part of the 20 most inclusive globally.

Many of the world's richest cities, however, appear to be "failing to create inclusive economies for their citizens."

The English capital, for instance, is ranked 33rd, while New York is 38th.

"Recent upheavals in cities as diverse as Paris, Hong Kong and Santiago have had very different origins. However, they indicate that serious tensions may erupt even in cities that are relatively richer," Lanvin stressed.

"Inequalities – real or perceived – act as a trigger, and as a fuel to instability. Inclusive prosperity should be the backbone of cities’ strategies for a sustainable future," he added.

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