People love living in Cardiff. The capital city of Wales consistently sits near the top of polls, surveys and reviews of quality of life in cities in the UK and Europe.
Cardiff’s culture, sport, shopping and its public and green spaces are ranked by its own citizens as amongst the best in Europe and help to attract visitors from around the world. Residents are also consistently happy with the quality and efficiency of public services in the city, particularly compared to other European cities.
While indicators of well-being at the city level paint a positive picture, levels of well-being vary significantly across the city (see Outcome 7 for more details), with stark differences in how prosperous, safe, healthy, skilled, clean and green Cardiff is between the most affluent and more deprived communities.
Housing, a central component of quality of life, remains relatively unaffordable in Cardiff compared to other major British cities and recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of people who are homeless or sleeping rough. Furthermore, over 50% of residents reported being concerned with being able to afford a decent standard of living.
The most recent Europe-wide poll put Cardiff as the continent’s joint third most liveable capital city. Cardiff aspires to be number one.
This will require maintaining high levels of citizen satisfaction with life in the city, building up the city’s sense of community, and – fundamentally – ensuring excellent public services at a time of rapidly increasing demand and public sector austerity.
Cardiff has significant assets to build on in terms of the city’s arts and culture, green spaces and the commitment of our citizens to improve our communities. The European Audit also showed that the city compares particularly well in terms of healthcare, sports facilities and its retail offer.
However, Cardiff’s citizens tell us that health as they age, affordability of housing, food and energy costs and access to services will have the biggest impact on their future well-being. Public transport, congestion and clean local environments have also been identified as key issues for improving the well-being of the city.
Adopting new ways of delivering public services, involving communities in the design and delivery of services and working to prevent problems before they occur will be key to addressing these issues.
In particular, closing the gap in well-being between communities as well as addressing long-term challenges such as persistent poverty and poor health will be vital if the vision of becoming the most liveable capital city in Europe is to be achieved.