The study conducted by ZipJet, a UK-based online dry cleaning and laundry service, looked at how these external elements affect our stress levels. The study ranks global cities based on 17 individual factors that can cause stress, including population density, traffic, pollution, unemployment, mental and physical health and equality.
The result is a comprehensive list of 150 cities. Four German cities made into the top ten of the most stress-free places with Stuttgart as the overall winner, followed by Hanover (3rd), Munich (5th) and Hamburg (joint 9th with Graz, Austria).
But what makes life in Stuttgart so chill? A look at the results shows that the city ranks high in terms of family purchase power, overall health, gender equality, and it also tops the chart for the number of green areas. Stuttgart has several parks and grassy areas within the city borders and is surrounded by forests, fields and vineyards.
David Moos, a PR professional from Stuttgart, agrees: ‘It’s no surprise Stuttgart scored highly for open spaces and these really have a noticeable effect on stress’, he told Lonely Planet. ‘The ability to feel less enclosed can help you in not feeling stifled, and personally I find this reduces anxiety.’
Stuttgart’s strong local economy also plays its part. The region is home to IT giant IBM, Daimler, Porsche and Bosch placing it among the best in Europe.
‘The feeling of security in the city, both financial and in the sense of personal safety, is also a great comfort’, David Moos added.
A look at the bottom of the ranking confirms the statement. Out of the 150, war-torn Baghdad came out as the most stressful city to live in, followed by Kabul.
Luxembourg, Germany’s tiny neighbour, made number two on the list and also scores with wealth, a significant amount of green space and good mental health among its population. Sydney, Australia (8th) is the only non-European city which made the top ten. In North America, Seattle (13th) takes the lead, followed by Wellington, New Zealand in 14th place. Melbourne and Vancouver, which have previously been said to be the most livable cities, ranked 20th and 29th respectively.
But when it comes to light, noise and air pollution, German cities should look across the pond to the US, the Ivory Coast and Iceland.
‘We hope that by pinpointing how the least stressful cities are managing this issue, those cities struggling with a stressed out population can overcome it’, ZipJet managing director Florian Färber said in a statement.
Click here for the entire list.
Are you heading to Stuttgart soon? Don’t miss these magical Christmas markets.