Vienna always votes Socialist, but its manners are mostly conservative. In what other big European city will you see people wearing notably native costumes to work, church, theaters? Of course, the Austrian "trachten" is fashionably presented, especially for women. Moreover, the trachten-wearers show up at some of the finest opera productions, philharmonic concerts and museum exhibitions in the world. Even the churches abound in world-class music, perhaps because Vienna still attracts young musicians and they welcome the chance to share, and show, their talents.
A new most livable cities report (see this London Telegraph article) also lists other European cities highly, but somehow favors the middle-size big ones over the giants like London and Paris and Rome, which, in fact, are the most stimulating.
Yet, Vienna, through it was one of the largest cities in the world a hundred years ago, is now still charming and human scale, without the soulless crush of cities that seem to have burst their seems. For example, Vienna's multi-mode transportation system is both quaint and efficient.
Meanwhile, the current Austrian government follows more conservative economic policies than some of the EU's derelict nations and therefore is relatively more prosperous. That is evident in Vienna, where it took a half century after World War II to recover the pre-war glamor and shine. But they are back. The old imperial grandeur is seen only in the beautifully maintained palaces, but the city compensates for political excitement by hosting a constant parade of international conferences.
In North America, the clean and vibrant city of Vancouver stands out in the "most livable" report. Vancouver doesn't have Seattle's major league sports or front ranking arts groups, but it keeps improving. Vancouver enjoys a coffee culture much like Seattle and Portland and has even more rain. The city's zoning allows a mix of high rises and single family residences, providing an adequate and attractive density to support a fine transportation system and thriving shopping districts.