The Mercer Human Resource Consulting list, which ranks cities to help governments and companies figure out compensation for foreign-assigned employees, has named Vienna the world's best city to live in for the second year in a row. The judgment is based on a survey accounting for the city's economy, crime rate, health services, schools, climate, and restaurants, among other factors. But if these don't reflect your personal criteria, International Herald-Tribune op-ed contributor H.D.S. Greenway points to some other options

"If you are an impoverished artist," he notes, "Berlin may be the place for you, with its creative excitement and comparatively cheap housing." Barcelona might be the best choice on the Mediterranean. "Istanbul, for just plain romance, Salzburg for charm and music, Singapore for pleasant practicality, and San Francisco for its setting and ambiance would have made my list," he adds. "Everyone has their own favorite cities, and livability is in the eyes of the beholder ..."