Singapore comes second and Toronto is third, with Paris and Amsterdam completing the top five
London claims pole position for the second time in a row in a comprehensive benchmarking study of 30 leading business centers globally. Overall, European cities take four of the top ten places in PwC’s Cities of Opportunity 7. The report measures performance against 10 indicators including transportation and infrastructure, ease of doing business, demographics and liveability, technology readiness, and cost.
The report demonstrates that cities succeed not only when they perform well economically, but when they succeed in providing a range of social features, including good quality of life, senior wellbeing, housing, and disaster preparedness — each of which demonstrates a strong relationship with top cities in the study.
As the report’s methodology and data is based mostly on the two years before the UK decision to exit the EU, the Brexit vote does not impact London’s position in the index this year. However, detail in the report’s wide-ranging measurements give an early indication of both the city’s international strengths and areas it will have to compete on post-Brexit. The message won’t be lost either on European and overseas city competitors who see opportunities to challenge London’s position as the UK plans its exit from the EU, according to a PwC.
“Over half the world’s population live in cities and they represent engines of global or regional economies,” says Bob Moritz, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International. “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, Moritz adds.
Highlights from the report include:
- Singapore, the city-state renowned for its planned development, comes in second — up from third position in 2014. In addition to ranking #1 in three indicators — technology readiness, transportation and infrastructure and the ease of doing business — the city performs well in the area of tax. An analysis of corporate total tax rate, personal rate, and tax efficiency shows that Singapore, along with Dubai and Hong Kong, have the lowest rates and highest efficiency collectively.
- Toronto, third in the study, ranks in the top 10 in seven of 10 indicators, and does particularly well in categories that speak to the daily needs and concerns of urban residents — finishing second in health, safety, and security; second in cost; and third in sustainability and the natural environment (tied with Seoul).
- Paris rises to fourth 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 also bounces back to 2nd as a city gateway after falling to 7th in 2014.
- Amsterdam enters the study for the first time this year — in fifth position. The city finished in the top five in three indicators (intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; and sustainability and the natural environment). It also finished in the top 10 in a further four indicators (city gateway; health safety and security; demographics and liveability; and economic clout), challenging the traditional urban powerhouses.
- New York, at #6, remains part of a global urban elite — but drops from second position in 2014 and first-place rankings in the editions before that. The city scores lower in many of this year’s newly-introduced measures and is overtaken by other cities’ gains in existing variables. It needs to improve substantially in sustainability and the natural environment, and health, safety, and security (both #16) as well as cost (#25). On the upside, the city finished #1 (tied with Paris) in demographics and liveability, #2 in economic clout, and #3 in technology readiness (tied with Amsterdam).
- Stockholm, seventh, performs particularly well in the area of sustainability and the natural environment (#1 tied with Sydney) and transportation and infrastructure (#3). In addition, the city outscores all others in two new variables, senior wellbeing and water-related business risk.
- Beijing, which retains its overall #19 spot, performs particularly well in two study indicators: city gateway (#3) and economic clout (#3).
For more information read the report here.