Lima Al-Azzeh

Congratulations Vancouver! Vancouverites, you’re still shit out of luck.

In Other People's Opinions, Vancouver Culture & Community on February 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Vancouver skyline 2009 - Gord McKenna

I know I promised I wouldn’t gripe about Vancouver, and it seems somewhat unfair to when the weather has cooperated so nicely lately (is there anything more beautiful than walking along the waterfront in full view of snow-capped mountains and a magnificently shimmering body of water?) But I’m a firm believer in balance,  and with the good, one must consider the bad. Little miss popular may have won herself the title of “Most Livable City” for her fifth year in a row, but fret not non-Vancouverites, she remains the slightly evasive, high maintenance bitch you always suspected she’d be.

Before I fully engage in my pseudo-gripe here, I’d like to share a long-held opinion of mine that I think is particularly relevant at this moment in time: Stats are a load of hooey.

Malcolm Gladwell confirms this in an article called “The Order of Things: What college rankings really tell us“, published in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

Here Gladwell faultlessly breaks down why rankings lists like Car and Driver‘s luxury sports cars comparison tests, or the more widely referenced U.S. News & World Report‘s “annual ‘Best Colleges’ guide”, actually fail to report anything substantive. Why? Because oftentimes what they are comparing, though they are attributed to the same category such as “luxury cars” or “colleges”, are, in reality, quite heterogeneous. Surely many would agree that Yale and the University of Washington may both be considered “universities” (and maybe even good, or great universities at that) but the true similarities probably end there. So while these lists claim to be “comprehensive”, definitive authorities on what is “the best” they repeatedly fail to answer an even more critical question: for whom?

Consider that when pondering how the “Most Livable City in the World” is simultaneously ranked the third least affordable

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JJ, Steven, Emily, markstuckert, ivancouverite and others. ivancouverite said: Congratulations Vancouver! Vancouverites, you're still shit out of luck. […]

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