Actually, not a lot of surprises on this list, except for some great cities that didn't make it. Maybe the biggest surprise is that Minneapolis ranked as the only mainland US entrant. Nice, friendly, well-planned city, but one of the best in the world? Nah.
I'd add these to the list (thinking about 'cities', not towns):
One thing to take away from lists like these is how America can make its cities better. Significant mass transit, subsidized independent shops, restaurants and cafes (versus chain stores), well-utilized outdoor gathering spaces, and closed-off pedestrian streets are an easy start for any mayor.
US cities will continue to lag unless the people demand something different. This list should inspire. And $10 gas could change everything.
Here's the Top 20 from Monocle magazine. Hack at it.
*Best global city : Paris
*Best business city: Madrid
*Best cultural city: Berlin
*Best design city: Copenhagen
*Best retail city: Fukuoka