Balanced Cities Perform Best in 2011 Study of Finance Capitals from PwC and the Partnership for New York City

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Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney join New York in top five;
Traditional powerhouses London, Paris and Tokyo drop on list

NEW YORK,May 3, 2011 - The finance and business centers of the future may not be the traditional capitals of global dominance, according to a new report released today by PwC  and the Partnership for New York City . The fourth edition of Cities of Opportunity  shows that in a more virtual and mobile world, well rounded cities with balanced economies and strong quality of life offer an attractive alternative: resilience during downturns and allure for skilled people who will build the future.

New York leads the 2011 study, which analyzes and ranks how 26 global centers of finance, business and culture perform across 10 key indicators . But it is followed closely in the top five by Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney -- cities more notable for quality of life and balance than global business dominance.

Their performance is impressive: Toronto does broadly well, making the top five in seven out of 10 indicators; San Francisco also shows strong balance in its first year in the study, finishing in the top four in six out of 10 indicators; Stockholm ranks in the top three in half the indicators, including three number ones; Sydney climbs two places this year, finishing in the top three in two indicators.

While these cities cannot match the size or economic clout of longstanding commercial hubs like London, New York, Paris or Tokyo, their performance highlights a changing global dynamic. Modern cities are less dependent on geography and historic connections and more reliant on holistic approaches to attracting and keeping creative minds and cutting-edge businesses that will build the future with fresh eyes.

The traditional alpha cities -- London, number six this year and first in economic clout, Paris, number eight overall and first in transportation and infrastructure, and Tokyo, number 14 overall -- retain their power and allure. But they do not congregate at the top as might reflexively be assumed based on recent history. New York, despite finishing first, hardly dominates. It leads because of balanced performance across the indicators, likely a key to the city's continued economic resilience, and outstanding performance in measures of intellectual capital, lifestyle assets and technology readiness.

The Cities of Opportunity  key indicators and top three cities in each are:

  • Intellectual capital and innovation--Stockholm, Toronto, New York/San Francisco (tied for 3rd)
  • Technology readiness--New York, Seoul, Stockholm
  • Transportation and infrastructure--Paris, Chicago, New York
  • Demographics and livability--Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto
  • Economic clout--London, Paris, New York
  • Cost--Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago
  • Lifestyle assets--New York, Paris, London
  • Health, safety and security--Stockholm, Toronto, Chicago
  • Ease of doing business--Hong Kong, Singapore, New York
  • Sustainability--Berlin, Sydney, Stockholm

This shift is reflected in the composition of the report’s top five cities since its first release in 2007. In that year, New York and Tokyo ranked first and second; London and Paris tied for third, with Toronto rounding out the top cities. In 2008, London moved up to second place, replacing Tokyo, which dropped from the top five. Last year, Singapore took the third spot from Chicago, behind New York and London, with Chicago and Paris tied for fourth.

"Changes in communications, education and knowledge-sharing, transportation and urban migration are transforming world dynamics," said Bob Moritz , US Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC. "Cities that want to thrive, need to adapt to these changes. Size is no longer a leading predictor of influence. The success of cities such as Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney sends a clear signal that holistic balance makes a real difference."

“For more than a year, researchers at the Partnership and PwC exhaustively compiled and analyzed data from more than 400 different global sources,” said Kathryn Wylde , President & CEO of the Partnership for NYC. “We are pleasantly surprised to see how the totals broke in favor of NYC, but with the clear competition rising from smaller, more livable cities.”

Cities of Opportunity is based on publicly available data, using three main sources: global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; national statistics organizations, such as National Statistics in the UK and the Census Bureau in the US; and commercial data providers. The data was collected during the second and third quarters of 2010. In the majority of cases, the data used refers to 2009 and 2010. In some cases when verifiable and consistent city information was not available, national data was used as a proxy. Care has been taken to ensure that, where used, national data closely reflects the city. The scoring methodology was developed to ensure transparency and simplicity for readers, as well as comparability across cities.

The complete report, interactive tools that allow users to model their own comparisons among the 26 cities and 66 variables, and videos and podcasts featuring Rem Koolhaas and Mortimer Zuckerman are available at: .

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About the Partnership for New York City

The Partnership for New York City’s ( ) mission is to engage the business community in efforts to advance the economy of New York City and maintain the city’s position as the center of world commerce, finance and innovation. Through the New York City Investment Fund, the Partnership contributes directly to projects that create jobs, improve economically distressed communities and stimulate new business creation. Partnership companies account for nearly 7 million American jobs and contribute over $740 billion to the national GDP.