At least that's what Berkeley City Councilwoman Susan Wengraf says in a description of why Berkeley is ranked third in the annual "Top 100 Best Places to Live" survey of U.S. small and mid-sized cities by Livability.com.
"This is paradise," Wengraf is quoted as saying.
Palo Alto took first place, followed by Boulder, Colo.
The ranking, published last week, is the result of a months-long process that used U.S. government data and public surveys done in collaboration with the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute and the market research firm Ipsos Public Affairs, according to Livability.com.
The analysis looked at more 1,700 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 350,000, and ranked them according their combined scores in eight areas:
- Social & Civic Capital
"It’s a thriving small city, a mecca for fine arts, culture, food and science. Berkeley is home to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Residents appreciate a strong local school system, a commitment to environmental interests, including urban farming, bike trails, public transportation and abundant public green space, like the enormous public Berkeley Rose Garden."
Palo Alto's attractions include "mild weather, a thriving economy, great cultural and natural amenities," as well as "one of the highest-ranked universities in the world," the survey description says.
Other Bay Area cities on the list include Santa Clara (15th), Santa Rosa (38th), Fremont (51st), Sunnyvale (85th), San Rafael (90th) and Hayward (92nd).
The City of Sunnyvale objected to the survey's methodology in an Oct. 18 post on the Livability.com Facebook page, saying that the city's healthcare score of 3 "seems like a major outlier."
"We have the same (and in some cases more) access than our neighbors, which are both at 46," Sunnyvale wrote. Palo Alto and Santa Clara both scored 46 in healthcare.
If Sunnyvale had scored more than 63 in healthcare, which most of the top 100 cities did, it would have been ranked first in total points and thereby topped the list.
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