Working with the project economists of Oxford Economics, PwC’s global capital projects and infrastructure team has gone one step further by analyzing the Cities data from the perspective of the traditional and social infrastructure needed to make cities work and grow. This study focuses on current infrastructure provision and unmet demand among the cities and forecasts the levels of potential urban infrastructure in each of the 27 locations, showing a number of surprises today as well as great levels of potential growth in the future.
Some notable observations arise looking ahead toward 2025. When it comes to urban survival and basic infrastructure needs, New York and London have greater future demand for housing than Johannesburg in absolute terms of units. (Meanwhile today, the world’s two financial capitals have still fallen short of upgrading their airport capacity as much as needed to manage anticipated growth.) Of the five cities that will have to expand classroom facilities the most by 2025, none are in Asia or Latin America. All are in North America or Europe, with London possessing the greatest absolute need of 7,000 additional classrooms and San Francisco the most in terms of percentages.
Most importantly, the paper quantifies the ongoing importance of capital projects and infrastructure to successful economic development in cities, the home of over half the world population today and 70 percent of us by 2050.
One of the most important findings in our report is that some Cities of Opportunity “underperform” while others “overperform” as far as current infrastructure is concerned. A city “overperforms” when its infrastructure ranks higher than expected given its wealth (as measured by GDP per capita), while it “underperforms” when it ranks lower than expected given its wealth.
To frame our analysis, we have categorized urban infrastructure according to the role each relevant data element in Cities of Opportunity plays in one of the four stages of what we consider to be the evolutionary development of a city.