"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."