What's a 'Livable' City Now?
Zurich (Photos: Toni V /

Zurich (Photos: Toni V /

New surveys are out on the world’s most livable cities. The places you’d really like to be to raise a family, enjoy life, start a business, savor days and nights and, well, there’s hardly an American city in sight.

The top 25 from the Economist’s Intelligence Unit finds Vancouver, Canada at the top of the list with Vienna, Melbourne, Helsinki, Osaka close behind.

And not a single American city. Pittsburgh sneaks in at 29. Monocle magazine gives Zurich top honors. And Copenhagen, Tokyo. Only Honolulu makes it from the USA. What’s up?

This hour, On Point: livable cities, and where’s the USA?

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From London we’re joined by Tyler Brûlé, editor-in-chief of Monocle Magazine, and “Fast Lane” columnist for the Financial Times. He headed up Monocole’s “Quality of Life 2009” survey, which lists Zurich, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Munich, and Helsinki as the top five cities.

From Los Angeles we’re joined by Joel Kotkin, author of “The City: A Global History.” He’s currently Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, CA, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.  He’s also a columnist for Forbes, and editor of the site

And from Santa Barbara we’re joined by Pico Iyer, travel writer and author of nine books, including “Video Night in Kathmandu” and “The Global Soul.” His piece for the New York Times, “The Joy of Less,”  topped the New York Times most-emailed list last week.  His newest book, just out in paperback, is “The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.”

Here’s the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2009 list, topped by Vancouver, Vienna, Melbourne, Toronto, and Perth.

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