Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Global Cities II

A measure of urban might

Some time ago I made a back of the hand ranking of the most important global cities measured by social, economic and cultural indicators; well, The Economist's Intelligent unit has published a ranking of 120 global cities, pictured above, which does more justice to the changing global dynamics. I have some comments in regards to what they have produced.

Firstly, They have three separate rankings for economic weight: 'economic strength' measures the annual city PPP GDP, 'physical and human capital' is a proxy for labour productivity and urban infrastructure, and 'financial and institutional' measures city wealth, financial strength, political stability and rule of law. They have respective weightings of 30%, 25%, and 25%.

London does not do well in the first three, combined weightings, but makes up in the last measure to come an overall second. The last measure is an overall social, living standards and cultural indicator with a smaller weighting of 20%. I would divvy up this indicator. Indeed, if the last indicator was weighted heavier, London would take the alpha spot from New York. Dear Readers, I am clearly a Londoner! 

Secondly, we see upcomers in the form of Singapore(3), Hong Kong(4), [and maybe] Seoul(20); clearly a shift to Asian cities reflects the continent's contemporary economic and social strengths.

Thirdly, in the bottom graph we see a correlation between cost-of-living and the respective 'competitive' rankings. North American cities carry the value of the dollar further than other global cities given their rankings; this maybe due to the deterministic and planned nature of their urban development, better regulated and contestable urban markets, and lax planning restrictions.