Tuesday 24 May 2016 – European cities perform well at the top of this year’s ‘Cities of Opportunity’ benchmarking developed by PwC. London claims pole position at #1, with Toronto in second place — up from fourth in 2014. Paris follows at #3, with Amsterdam and New York locked in a virtual tie for fourth. The Big Apple drops from #2 in the last edition.
PwC’s Cities of Opportunity 7 provides a balanced benchmarking of the social and economic health of 30 of the world’s leading cities by measuring their performance against 10 indicators including transportation and infrastructure, the ease of doing business, demographics and liveability, technology readiness and cost. The study underscores that city success requires balanced social and economic strengths for the community to work as a whole. It finds high scores in the human elements of urban life show the strongest relation to city success. These traits include good quality of life, senior wellbeing, public transport systems, housing, literacy and enrolment, and disaster preparedness.
Cities of Opportunity’s comprehensive measurement of major centres of business, commerce, intellectual capital and culture, highlights the complex economic and policy challenges cities face to succeed:
- London retains the first position for the second year in a row, and extends its lead against close rivals in the study. The city is among the top three in six indicators covered by the study, including intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; city gateway; demographics and liveability; economic clout; and ease of doing business.
- Toronto, second in the study, ranks in the top 10 in eight of 10 indicators, and does particularly well in categories that speak to the daily needs and concerns of urban residents – finishing first in health, safety and security; second in cost; and third in sustainability and the natural environment (tied with Seoul).
- Paris rises to third position overall from sixth in 2014 despite a decade of economic pressure and more recently, terror attacks. Paris performed strongly across the measures, the only city to make the top 10 in 9 out of 10 indicators. It returns to first in demographics and liveability overall, tying New York. Paris comes in second in cultural vibrancy, #4 in quality of living, #5 in both city brand and relocation attractiveness and #6 in the ‘Youthful Cities’ measure, based on a global database ranking 55 of the largest cities from a youth perspective.
- In a virtual tie for fourth, New York remains part of a global urban elite – but it drops from second position in 2014. The city scores lower in many of this year’s newly-introduced measures and is overtaken by other cities’ gains in existing variables. For example, in the cost indicator, New York appears in the bottom half in the new affordability of rent (#18) and personal tax (#28) measures. In sustainability, it comes in #19 in the new natural disaster preparedness and #23 in water-related business risk.
- Amsterdam enters the study for the first time this year – in a virtual tie with New York. The city finished in the top five in four indicators, including intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; health, safety and security; and sustainability and the natural environment.
- Stockholm, sixth, performs particularly well in the area of transportation and infrastructure (#1) and sustainability and the natural environment (#1 tied with Sydney).
- Beijing, which retains its overall #19 spot, performs particularly well in two study indicators: city gateway (#3) and economic clout (#3).
- Singapore leads in technology readiness (#1) – but drops five spots in the overall ranking from third place in 2014 due to dips in eight of the 10 indicators. Much of the city’s lower result is driven by new variables added in this edition or fresh angles taken on existing measures. For example, Singapore is edged off the top spot in transportation and infrastructure with the incorporation of ease of commute into this indicator group.
- Eight different cities finish first in at least one indicator. One of them – Johannesburg – tops all cities in competitiveness on cost, but isn’t in the overall top 10
PwC US Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz, who will take on the role of Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International on 1 July 2016, comments:
“Over half the world’s population live in cities, and they represent engines of global or regional economies. A good life is not a luxury in these cities, it’s a basic requirement for cities and businesses to get and keep talent. Strong performing cities are those planning and providing across all the measures of the long-term quality of life of its citizens. Having the infrastructure in place – social, economic and physical – builds stronger communities and in turn the resilience of the city no matter what it faces.”
Hazem Galal, Cities and Local Government Sector Global Leader, says:
“The consistent performance of cities like London, Paris, Singapore and New York within the top ten of Cities of Opportunity shows that their success goes much deeper than economic might alone. Good quality of life in the city plays a fundamental role in their ability to attract and retain the globally mobile talent they need. The continued urban competitiveness of these cities rests on continuing collaboration between the businesses, policymakers and citizens who build them.”