For us, an ideal city combines stability and dynamic potential. Such a city boasts reliable demographic growth and higher education is readily obtainable. Well-paid jobs are within reach, social services are of high-quality.
To put it simplistically, the ideal city is where one wants to spend one’s entire life
The twenty indicators we have chosen for this ranking reflect our understanding of the ideal city. Certain indicators have not been included in the ranking, such as the state of infrastructure or the environment, as we could not find relevant quantitative indices. Nevertheless, we strived to create a high-quality, transparent ranking using the data available.
Our ranking only includes cities with more than 50,000 residents. Nearly two thirds of the population of Belarus live in these 23 cities, and they are the most significant political-economic actors. This does not mean that we believe towns with a population of 20,000 people or villages to be bad places to live, but their role in Belarus remains marginal and will only become more so as time goes one. We have thus excluded them from our ranking.
When preparing this ranking, we were inspired by global examples, examples from neighbouring countries and the Ranking of Belarusian Citiescompiled a decade ago. All of these indices address the same fundamental questions as the Ranking of Belarusian Cities, although the Western examples cover more factors and draw from a larger statistical database.
Although such indices reduce the visible scope of information, in practice the ranking contains a wealth of statistical data that determines the ultimate place of each city in the ranking. Below, we give an explanation of how we selected each indicator to measure our five dimensions.
Each dimension (not indicator) has an equal share in the general result. We recognize that this is a simplification. However, this simplification is intentional, as we believe it ensures transparency and elegance in our research, given that all aspects are important in determining the city closest to our ideal.
The results of most indicators are equalized on a scale of 0 to 100 points according to the formula
The exception to this is the results of the expert ranking of the Belarusian tourist sites and the indicators in the “Transparency of Administration” dimension. There, the results are presented according to a three-step scale:
Please take a look at the following example of how the scale works:
The results of the dimensions are presented as an average of all the indicators analyzed for the dimension, while the general ranking is an average of all the dimensions.
In almost all cases, we used data from the most recent available year. The only exception to this was investment in fixed capital. Here, figures often change in accordance with the priorities of the authorities, so in this case we used the average index for five years.
When we were developing this ranking, the administrative status of nearly half of the cities created a small problem, as some of them are cities of district, rather than regional subordinance. This means that some data is collected at the level of the entire district, not the city itself. We have been thinking for a long time about how to address this issue. However, in practice, manual correction of data could reduce the transparency of our research. Therefore, we simply added a symbol indicating when we used data from the district level for our audience to take into account.
Combining such indicators in order to create a ranking always involves compromise in terms of methodology. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t manage to make all the compromises we would have liked, and therefore certain interesting indicators did not make it into the ranking. Perhaps what we were really lacking was your bright ideas, so we are kindly asking you to answer several questions (it is not necessary to answer them all).Proceed to Google form
As shown above, our ranking uses competitive assessments – the number of points a city scores according to a certain indicator depends on how this result correlates with the best-performing city according to the same indicator (with a score of 100 points), and the worst city (with a score of 0). In practice, most cities are far outpaced by Minsk and Hrodna, and shine in comparison with Vorsha.That said, it doesn’t take much to outshine Vorsha.
In order to clearly illustrate the performance of each city in every dimension, we have created the tool below. It can also serve as a tool for recommendations, so that local elites can easily see which areas they need to pay more attention to. On the diagram indicators and dimensions where a city scored from 1 to 33 points, from 34 to 67 points and from 68 to 100 points.