News / Vancouver

‘Lotusland’ blisses its way to 6th place in ‘most mindful’ cities list

Forget Vancouverites’ thoughtless drivers reputation, because we’ve officially joined the ranks of Nordic nations’ chillest urbanites.

Vancouver has joined a list of mostly Nordic cities ranked 'most mindful.' In this file photo, Kundalini yoga teacher Katrina Prescott poses at Vancouver's Sunset Beach.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro Order this photo

Vancouver has joined a list of mostly Nordic cities ranked 'most mindful.' In this file photo, Kundalini yoga teacher Katrina Prescott poses at Vancouver's Sunset Beach.

Forget Vancouverites’ reputation as thoughtless drivers.

That’s because we can now take solace that our West Coast haven has meditated its way onto the list of the world’s “most mindful” cities, at least according to a new index developed by the highly regarded World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

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Sure to inflame often pejorative stereotypes of Vancouver as “Lotusland,” the city earned sixth place in the global top 10 ranking of cities, on a list almost entirely dominated by Nordic nations.

We even beat out what is arguably the world’s marijuana-and-social-tolerance capital, Amsterdam.

“The ranking analyses various attributes,” explained the Forum’s head of infrastructure and urban development, Michael Buehler, in a web posting, “such as social tolerance, civic engagement, work-life balance, quality of healthcare, life expectancy, safety, ecological footprint and income levels.”

Defining “mindfulness” as a heightened “moment-to-moment non-judgemental awareness, cultivated by paying attention,” the index examined cities with low levels of noise and pollution, lower population stress levels, increased feelings of well-being or happiness, “social tolerance, civic engagement, work-life balance, quality of healthcare, life expectancy, safety, ecological footprint and income levels,” the study reported.

Last week, Metro reported on another survey that suggested British Columbians are the “laziest workers in Canada,” with 27 per cent of workers saying they feel unmotivated at work, according to a Monster Canada poll. However, B.C. residents also scored high for a healthier work-life balance.

To create the mindfulness index, Buehler and co-creator Kayo Hirano — the Forum’s community lead for infrastructure industries — compiled data from the World Health Organization, World Bank development indicators, United Nations’ World Happiness Report, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Gallup’s World Poll, and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Most Liveable Cities index.

Cities, they wrote, “can significantly contribute to the well-being of their citizens by inspiring and enabling mindful practices,” and “create a resilient physique, personality, culture and relationship with its citizens, all of which amount to a more mindful environment.”

The overall winner worldwide? It’s Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus, with a population of just more than 300,000 and ambitions to become completely carbon-neutral by 2030.

WORLD’S ‘MOST MINDFUL’ CITIES

1. Aarhus, Denmark

2. Lucerne, Switzerland

3: Reykjavik, Iceland

4. Bergen, Norway

5. Turku, Finland

6. Vancouver, Canada

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands

8. Auckland, New Zealand

9. Adelaide, Australia

10 Malmo, Sweden

Source: World Economic Forum

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