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July / August 2011

The results are in for our annual Quality of Life survey. Who’s up? Who’s down? And who’s out in our ranking of the world' 25 best cities to call home (there are a few surprises).

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Breaking the rules

The codes of good urban planning are common sense. But sometimes those rules are there to be broken and, as in these five examples, the results can work surprisingly well.

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Going south

Montpellier is the fastest-growing city in France and for Monocle it ranks as one the best cities for business. It supports new ventures, with many hi-tech companies setting up there, and has an enviable quality of life to…

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Local heroes

From honey producers to fashion designers, Monocle meets the groups and business owners that have launched innovative projects to help bring communities together. Sometimes it makes good business sense too.

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Shelf obsession

For quality of life a local deli can make a real difference. These are Monocle’s five favourite food stores from around the world that are offering that bit extra, from the Sydney shop with its own homemade brands to an…

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The money mystery

There’s a link between quality of life and the money in your pocket but nobody quite understands this complicated marriage. One thing we do know for sure, whatever the question, the answer should not be Luanda.

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Ideas to steal

Making the word’s busiest cities a little more ordered should be top of most urban planners to-do lists. And when one city strikes on an idea that works, it seems the rest of the globe is keen to catch up.

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Expo 45: Rome

Rome’s citizens will tell you that too many things just don’t work in their city. But it still maintains an enviable quality of life with its markets, piazzas and architectural surprises.

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The wait is over

Welcome to the fifth annual Monocle survey of top 25 liveable cities around the world. Here’s how they rank.

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Patron familias

Sometimes it’s not civic officials who shape the city but passionate families. In Sydney the Kaldors’ cultural philanthropy is enriching their city.

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Expo 45: Seoul

Many cities claim to be 24-hour party places. But nowhere is a hedonists’ dream quite like the South Korean capital. Sure, it’s a dizzying mix of people, lights, traffic and consumption. But that’s also its great appeal.

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The liveable cities index 2011

For our Quality-of-Life issue, Monocle has been busy researching the world’s top cities. And with a re-jig of the way each urban centre is assessed, this year’s top 25 promises some surprises.

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Voice of the people

Every city has a local media star – perhaps a television anchor, newspaper columnist, singer or author – who is part of its very fabric. Content with staying on home turf, they are an institution, breaking down the anoma…

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Looking for a plan

What happens when urban planning goes wrong? The answer is Dongguan, a metropolis hastily erected on the back of a 1980s economic boom. With poor transport and half-empty shopping centres, life is a struggle. But authori…

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The art of summer

Find the cream of culture with our guide to the best books, films, music, festivals and exhibitions this season.

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Expo 45: Kagoshima

A long, long way from Tokyo, this distinct, defiant, delightful city is unsung to the point that even the Japanese are hardly aware of it. And if you think the view across the Bay of Naples is spectacular…

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Almost there

Three of the five cities on this page have been in our bottom five for the past two years, and Montréal has slipped. Maybe somebody at city hall needs to start trying a bit harder. Meanwhile, we welcome Seattle to the fold…

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Expo 45: Casablanca

You won’t see many tourists idling around the crumbling mix of ancient and modern that is Morocco’s largest city. You’ll be hard-pushed to find much in the way of infrastructure either. Yet the locals adore the place.

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Hard-task masters

This is Monocle’s homage to the city workers charged with some of the toughest tasks in the world, from the nitty gritty of slum clearance in India, to dealing with Cairo’s rubbish problem and working in Taipei’s animal…

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Observation

Our editor-in-chief jumps on his bike to find forgotten corners of the city in need of reimagining and offers a recipe that works – if you can find the ingredients.

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Can he fix it too?

Cory Booker is reviving a neglected city – and in the process the mayor of Newark has attracted the attention of influential people. With the same ‘yes we can’ attitude as Obama, he may one day even follow in the preside…

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Inside the box

Habitat 67 proves that buildings created for events – in this case Montréal’s Expo of 1967 – can continue to be useful. We meet three residents and talk to the architect about why the project has been such a success.

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Five city bosses

One has the task of turning round Japan’s only bankrupt city. Another is trying to rebuild a war-torn capital where electricity is a scarce luxury. They are all, however, motivated by a desire to improve the day-to-day…

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Breathing space

When Monocle and sister company Winkreative had to hunt for a bigger London base, they opted for greenery, mid-century architecture and a central location. Welcome to Midori House.

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Europe Briefing

A call for more creativity in Sweden's architecture, a scheme to get Finnish commuters smiling and the councillor trying to get Lisbon cycling.

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Fashion Briefing

Monocle trawls the fashion world for the latest brands, trends and industry movements, including jewellery from New York, southern European-influenced clothes from Munich and everything in-between.

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Paradise in the city

Visit Munich or Melbourne, Seattle or Singapore and you’ll come across ‘almost perfect’ places to live. However, at Monocle we’ve created the ideal mansion block, with nothing omitted in its design. Now, who’s going to…

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Asia Briefing

We report on an urban farming project at Osaka train station, the first verticle farm in Singapore and the sad fate of Cambodia's colonial and "new Khmer" buildings.

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Prom party

For our summer shoot we’re strolling beside the sea in crisp, bright separates, sleek swimwear and smart sunglasses. The location? A once-mocked resort with some new-wave architecture.

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Oceania Briefing

Australia heads into a housing bubble, while in Christchurch the nightlife heads to the suburbs. Plus, we speak to the man in charge of rebuilding post-earthquake New Zealand.

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Back to the grind

Around the world a new generation of coffee shops are becoming community players. We meet the baristas who make their ’hoods and get their urban picks.

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Expo 45: Buenos Aires

European cities battered by the economic crisis can look to Buenos Aires for inspiration. Since the country’s collapse in 1999, the Argentine capital has kept its joie de vivre, and turned formerly run-down areas into…

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