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...
...This left us with 20 cities: Paris, Hamburg, Stockholm, Auckland, Kyoto, Honolulu, Vancouver, Helsinki, Madrid, Zürich, Melbourne, Tokyo, Geneva, Singapore, Montréal, Munich, Copenhagen, Sydney, Vienna and Barcelona.
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