Livable Cities are all the rage among planners. There are even lists of such places.
Consider that the top-ten U.S. counties in terms of adding most private sector jobs in 1991-2001 were Maricopa (AZ), Harris (TX), Dallas (TX), Clark (NV), Los Angeles (CA), Orange (CA), San Diego (CA), Cook (IL), Santa Clara (CA) and New York (NY). Not surprisingly, there is very little overlap between these (and the next 20) and the 30 "most livable". (Admittedly the jobs data are for counties, not cities, but the point holds.) Perhaps economic opportunity is no big deal for the list makers.
The most livable are described this way: "Each of this year's 30 Most Livable Communities have developed innovative approaches to prepare for the New Economy through creative strategies, actions, and visions of their leadership."
Is it any wonder that the two lists are distinct?