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The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual index of livability for 140 global cities offers a window into universal values that speak about civility and opportunity. How do you know what a Top 10 list of livable cities looks like? Imagine 30 factors that matter -- everything from petty crime to military conflict, from levels of censorship to levels of educational access, and from the quality of the asphalt beneath you to the power lines above you. Grouped into five categories (stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure), these factors define the possibility of living quite well according to anyone's standards. Looking at the 10 most livable cities, 60% are remarkably located in just two countries on opposite sides of the world, only 30% are in Europe (once the height of livability, long ago), and exactly zero are in America. This list is more than water cooler fodder. It's a game changer for how we think about what urban planner Clarence Stein called "the good life."

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