Top 10 Most Livable Cities

Monocle Magazine looks worldwide for the most livable cities.

"What do you really want out of a city? And what can you do without? With the environment top of the agenda in mayors' offices around the world, Monocle looks beyond the recycling bins and congestion charges to see what makes for a liveable city. Tolerance, punctual transit, plenty of sunshine and the ability to get a drink in the wee hours all count for something.

Our mission for this issue is a simple one - we want to improve the urban experience. It's a tricky enough task for forward-thinking local governments to tackle, let alone a media brand, but we've been thinking about this theme since our launch and decided the best time to engage politicians, developers, architects, financiers and anyone else who has influence or an opinion about city-life was while they were stretched out, relaxed, taking the sun and fully focused on their own quality of life. By the time you've finished reading this issue we hope you'll be suitably moved to join our sun-lounger revolution and become an active player in raising the bar in whatever port you call home.

Before we go any further, however, we should start by defining a few terms. For avoidance of doubt, this is a quality of life survey and should not be confused with a ranking of the world's best financial centers, a listing of the top cities to be an expat or a rating of the leading centers of innovation. Our focus is firmly fixed on identifying the components and forces that make a city not simply attractive or wealthy but truly liveable. Researched over a three-month period, our quality of life survey is 50 per cent scientific (we'll come to our metrics shortly) and 50 per cent subjective (sometimes a place just rubs you the wrong way and you're not quite sure why). We feel the combination of raw data mixed with opinion offers a more accurate picture of urban environments than just relying on numbers. Indeed, the whole concept of liveability couldn't be more subjective territory."

Full Story: Urban Manifesto: Factors that make a city great



Monocle is... shall we say, Myopic?

I've read Monocle's article before is showed up here on Planetizen. I question its picks for the most livable cities. Some of them I personally love, such as Munich, however the folks at Monocle have a narrower set of criteria than I'd like for the definition of "livable", appealing primarily to a select demographic. Their index begs the question: Livable for whom?

Regardless of how they put it, if you are young, very liberal, and very rich, the Monocle index will make perfect sense to you. This approach to calling a city livable should raise a flag for anyone seriously interested or engaged in Urban Planning and Design; we should know that cities- to be healthy and truly livable- must have much more diversity of people, income, and indeed thought.

In summation, Monocle's article would be at home in a lifestyle magazine, not something like a professional journal of Urban Design or Policy. Just as we question the wisdom of suburban sprawl in our own time, we will one day find ourselves questioning our current focus on narrow slices of demography for urban renewal, i.e., the Loft-making that attracts people at a certain stage of life, but may ultimately pigeon-hole them and make them less likely to remain settled as they grow.

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