London named as world’s top city of opportunity

by Ray Clancy on October 25, 2016

London is the top city in the world in terms of opportunity and it is in a good position to withstand the rigors of the UK outside of the European Union, a new study has found.

Although the research from PwC was done before the UK voted to leave the EU, it still says that London will continue to succeed due to its international strengths, quality of life and ease of doing business.

tower-bridge-london-ukIn second place in the Cities of Opportunity Index is Singapore, followed by Toronto, Paris and Amsterdam, meaning that European cities have taken four of the top 10 places. New York was placed sixth, followed by Stockholm and Beijing.

The report aims to provide a balanced benchmarking of the social and economic health of 30 of the world’s leading business cities. It measures their 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.

‘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,’ said Bob Moritz, chairman of PwC International.

‘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,’ he added.

London not only retained the first position for the second edition in a row, but extended 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.

The report says that any effects Brexit may have on London will take place in a process that will evolve over time and not overnight. Questions include the effects on talent mobility and migration, trade, investment and regulation, among others.

Singapore moved from third to second place and the report said it performed well in technology readiness, transportation and infrastructure and the ease of doing business as well as 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 performed 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 along with Seoul.

Paris rose 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 nine out of 10 indicators. It returns to first in demographics and liveability overall, tying New York. Paris also bounces back to second as a city gateway after falling to seventh in 2014.

‘The consistent performance of cities like London, Paris, Singapore and New York within the top 10 shows that it’s not only economic prosperity that drives success. 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,’ said Hazem Galal, PwC cities and local government sector global leader.

‘Because no two cities are the same, the study suggests each city needs to develop its own individual strategy to understand strengths, weaknesses, and identities and then orchestrate growth to suit its own profile, building on opportunities and also tackling challenges like providing affordable housing, knitting together effective public transit and reducing disaster exposure,’ he added.

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