Times are changing in the global urban hierarchy as smaller cities achieve global reach through innovation and livability. These are ‘New World Cities’ – and they are achieving success in all corners of the globe.
Globalization and mobility are bringing new clout to modest-sized ‘New World’ cities like Auckland, Santiago, and Vancouver. They’re competing on their own terms against the traditional economic heavyweights such as New York, Hong Kong and London, according to JLL’s New World of Cities research. Whether it’s quality of life, access to technology, vibrant culture or public transportation, each of these thriving cities offers unique appeal to educated, modern talent as well as international property investors.
These 10 New World Cities are among those that stand out for their urban transformation and their commitment to modernizing as fast as the speed of change.
With a population just shy of 1.4 million residents, New Zealand’s largest city is one of the smallest populations in JLL’s City Momentum Index. And yet, its dynamic economy has gained worldwide recognition and the city has gained a reputation for being among the world’s most sustainable and liveable. Momentum also comes from major development, most notably the Wynyard Quarter, which is transforming the waterfront, and the proposed City Rail Link, which will expand the rail system in the city center. Auckland is also expected to show the strongest office rental growth in any indexed city this year, and ranks seventh in JLL’s Investment Intensity Index for attracting the most investment relative to its size.
Architect Antoni Gaudi’s stomping ground wins momentum with points for attractiveness, lifestyle and reputation. Regularly ranking in the top 15 for foreign investment in its region, Barcelona has a dynamic tourism sector and a reputation for charm and vibrancy. It has achieved top ten positioning in two major brand indices, and it also lays claim to top-five positioning for international conventions and conferences. While some of the city’s success can be attributed to its memorable architecture and landscape, Barcelona is also pushing for an innovation economy with such projects as the Barcelona Global Talent Programme.
While it ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, Cape Town has first-class appeal for residents and visitors and ranks first sustainability in the African Green City Index. As one of only four emerging markets to make the City Momentum Index’s top 60 cities, Cape Town will need to manage its growth with a clear, bold, and durable leadership structure to maintain its global positioning.
Denmark’s fair capital city is well known for its quality of life and impressive pool of talent, earning it ninth place in the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and seventh in AON People Risk Index. It earns momentum also in terms of investment, ranking sixth in JLL’s Investment Intensity Index and innovation, earning ninth place in the 2Thinknow Innovation Cities Index. Of course, for a city that established its first car-free zones in the ‘60s, innovative urban planning is par for the course.
Germany’s second-largest city is riding high in terms of livability and commercial innovation, placing 16th in Mercer’s quality-o- life rankings and 18th in the 2thinknow Innovation Cities Index. It’s also Europe’s second-fastest growing destination, behind only Istanbul, thanks to its climate, urban design and commercial clusters, with an influx of young, mobile professionals and families seeking education, experience, and economic opportunity.
Innovation and startup credentials are quickly making the Chilean capital a standout among South American cities. Known for its business and investor-friendliness, Santiago places second behind Miami on AméricaEconomía’s assessment of places to do business in Latin America. It’s also the third most- attractive emerging city for investment, according to fDi’s Global Cities of the Future, partly because of the city’s strong rate of job creation and income growth. Innovation is promoted with programs like Start-Up Chile, which aims to connect international funders to early-stage businesses and incubators.
Israel’s second most-populous city has emerged as a digital technology and startup champion, with Start-up Genome ranking it fifth in the world of global startup ecosystems. Momentum is also evident in Tel Aviv’s real estate boom, with property prices increasing by 84 percent since 2008 and spiking more than 10 percent in 2014 alone—a development that’s been largely powered by tech startups.
Lifestyle, visitor appeal and reputation are driving this historic city into modern limelight, scoring first for livability in Mercer’s book and first for reputation from City RepTrak in 2014. Vienna also regularly ranks in the top 15 for foreign investment in its region, in part because of increasing demand for high-quality data center space. As the fastest-growing city among the German-speaking countries, Vienna is promoting innovation in the form of “future labs” as part of its preparations for Vienna 2025, and has secured sixth seat in terms of global innovation, according to 2thinknow.
There’s a reason for all the buzz about Seattle—and it’s not just because it’s the birthplace of Starbucks and the home of Microsoft. The U.S.’s 11th largest metropolitan economy is bursting with dynamic technology and talent, ranking 8th in the EIU Hot Spots of Human Capital and 10th in the 2thinknow Innovation index. Here, corporate real estate is intentionally being used to boost sustainability and liveability—as exemplified by Amazon’s 3.3 million square-foot campus expansion into Denny Triangle district.
Sustainability and quality of life are the big momentum drivers in this seaport city, earning it third place in EIU’s Livability Index and second in the North American Green City index. Vancouver works hard for these accolades, with regular placement in the top 15 candidates for foreign investment in the region and ambitions to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. It’s also becoming a hub for tech talent, serving as both a breeding ground for startup growth and a home to major brand-name tech firms like Microsoft, Cisco and Amazon.