Concerns have been voiced that London is set to become less popular with expats in Europe when the UK leaves the European Union, but research points to it being one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
London is the hub that expats flock to in the UK with its culture, jobs, technology hubs and innovation being particularly attractive for young professional people.
With more than half of the world’s population living in cities and urbanisation growing around the globe, cities that are innovative and nurture technology are likely to do the best, according to the 2017 City Momentum index from real estate services firm JLL.
It names Bangalore in India as the most dynamic city in the world, followed by Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Silicon Valley in the United States. But London takes sixth place, ahead of many top locations in China and the US.
It is a city’s capacity to embrace rapid change that determines its ability to compete in the world today and in the future, according to index report.
‘What has become apparent is that these cities are now becoming more tightly networked and most are outperforming their national economies. Whether new regional technology hubs such as Nairobi, established global gateways like London, or emerging global cities like Shanghai, these cities integrate change and technology into their DNA,’ the report says.
‘Moreover, the most successful cities seek to sustain momentum and innovation by cultivating their research and educational capabilities, and by investing in infrastructure,’ it adds.
In London there has been a lot of investment in infrastructure with the new Crossrail Elizabeth Line, due to open next year. A lot of money is also being put into the tech industry, leading to the area around Old Street being referred to as Europe’s Silicon Valley.
The index report also points out that while cities change ranks from year to year only three cities – London, Shanghai and Silicon Valley -have consistently made it into the top 10 since the index was first published in 2014.
It describes London as an ‘established’ world city which absorbs changes and technology that complement and add to diverse businesses.
A separate report from real estate firm Knight Frank says that London is a global city, already operating beyond the European Union, and it has the ability to flourish after Brexit.
It suggests that business, including finance, is unlikely to desert London when the country leaves the EU and points out that in the property sector, for example, of £9.3 billion of overseas capital invested in central London offices some 80% came from outside Europe.
China and Hong Kong were the largest source of foreign investment, accounting for £2.9 billion which was 60% more than Europeans. The report explains that losing access to the City of London marketplace presents a huge threat to business continuity in Europe and therefore London is unlikely to be shunned.