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Technology explosion! In the digital era, human capital will power the next generation of global cities

by Ada Hazel
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The most competitive city is out! The A.T. Kearney 2019 Global Cities report, released today, uncovers the differentiating factor for the world’s most competitive cities: their people. The report also highlights the model of China’s rapid rise in human capital and the establishment of successful cities.

According to the 2019 Global City Report, AT Kearney partners and co-leaders are still struggling for human capital and corporate investment competition among major cities around the world, while emerging cities and regions are making progress for long-term leaders.

The report includes both the Global Cities Index and the Global Cities Outlook, which evaluate the current performance of the world’s top cities and the potential of upcoming urban powerhouses, respectively. This year, New York and London maintain their top rankings, but the study reveals that even the world’s leading cities shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Four cities make some of the biggest moves this year:

  • Houston jumps six spots in the Index to 35th, thanks to its ability to attract global firms.
  • Sydney moves from 15th to 11th in the Index, thanks to improvements in human capital.
  • Dublin leaps from 33rd to ninth in the Outlook, driven by more foreign investments and patent activity.
  • Tokyo rises eight spots to 6th in the Outlook, in part because of improvements in the personal well-being of its residents.

For more than a decade, A.T. Kearney’s Global Cities report has been highlighting the importance of urban development and informing cities’ strategies for the future. Insights from the report help companies identify places with opportunities to invest as well as those with future potential.

2019 Global Cities Index

The Global Cities Index provides insights into the performance and reach of the world’s most competitive cities. For the third year in a row, New York City is the world’s most powerful and influential city, holding on to its top spot this year thanks to strong scores in business activity and human capital.  

“For global corporations, decisions about where to site a new location need to account for vital factors such as the availability of talent, the vibrancy of the business community, and the efficacy of the existing infrastructure,” said Andrés Mendoza Peña, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “The Index offers a way to assess which cities can deliver in the areas that are most important for future business success.”

2019 Global Cities Outlook

The Global Cities Outlook identifies emerging cities that can rival the established leaders. London rises to the top this year thanks to its steady pace, while other urban hubs are struggling to keep up. For instance, after four years at the top of the Outlook, San Francisco has dropped to third place—still scoring high in innovation, but up-and-coming cities are outpacing the tech hub in personal well-being and governance.

“The world’s best cities are not just great places to invest and work; they’re also great places to live,” said Erik Peterson, partner with A.T. Kearney and managing director of the firm’s Global Business Policy Council. “For cities to remain competitive, they need to focus on the wellbeing of their residents in all aspects of their lives, from ensuring affordable housing and job opportunities to providing access to public services and healthy environments.”

Why Chinese cities must become more citizen-centric

The performance of Chinese cities continues to outpace that of cities in other global regions. This year’s study reveals that China’s cities have maintained their momentum, with their average Index scores growing at a rate three times faster than North American cities.

However, with urbanization rates slowing across the region, city development can no longer be simply about growth. In this year’s spotlight, A.T. Kearney examines why the next phase of development for Chinese cities needs to be citizen centric. By focusing on improving their population structure and the personal well-being of their citizens, cities will be more likely to attract foreign corporate investment and human capital.

“The rise of Chinese cities in the Global Cities Index has been nothing short of impressive,” said Jefferson Wang, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “But our analysis of urban development in China suggests creating more liveable, sustainable, affordable cities will be key to their continued growth. And both governments and corporations will play a big role in this next transformation.” Click here to view A.T. Kearney’s 2019 Global Cities report. 

A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index and Global Cities Outlook Methodologies

The Global Cities Index examines the current performance of cities based on 27 metrics spanning five dimensions: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. It provides insights into the current global reach, performance, and level of development of the world’s largest cities. It also allows for the comparison of diverse cities and for the identification of core strengths and distinctive differences.

The Global Cities Outlook evaluates a city’s potential based on the rate of change for 13 leading metrics across four dimensions: personal well-being, economics, innovation, and governance. These metrics help evaluate long-term investment and success by assessing elements such as environmental performance, infrastructure, and innovation capacity. In this way, the Outlook brings a forward-looking perspective to city-level policies and practices that shape future competitiveness, identifying growing cities that are likely to be the most prominent global cities of the future.

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world’s foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.

Media Contact Information

wsmith@makovsky.com

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