The world’s leading global cities may be sitting on top of the pile for now but they have a group of ambitious contenders increasingly challenging their dominance.
The chasing pack are already household names in their own right but there’s more to the top group of London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul than size alone. They’ve also got a critical mass of corporate headquarters, deep talent pools, efficient infrastructure – not to mention the influence to set and shape the world stage.
Yet the gap with other emerging global cities around the world is closing as they raise their game. “Comparative indices and performance data have made it clear that a second tier of cities has emerged just behind the seven leading cities,” says Jeremy Kelly, Director of Global Research at JLL. “Most of these cities have been promoted from their previous status as ‘New World’ or ‘Emerging World Cities’, having acquired more of the assets and characteristics of Established World Cities.”
So which 10 cities are part of the Contenders group? View the slideshow below to find out more:
The strongest of the 10 cities in the Contenders group, Los Angeles already has the scale, appeal, soft power and global specialisation through its film industry to take it to the next level. The city’s prospects are further enhanced by a renewed focus on transit-oriented development - ‘Measure M’, passed in November 2016, has provided a strong boost to transport spending, on the heels of expansions to the Expo, Crenshaw and Purple lines - and the impetus provided by hosting the Summer Olympics in 2028. However, the city region faces a number of long-standing challenges including sprawl, pollution, infrastructure deficits and inequalities.
Shanghai is moving on from being an Emerging World City through its increasingly strong global corporate presence by becoming a highly dynamic business and professional services gateway, underpinned by world class infrastructure. In the next stage of its growth, Shanghai is developing a stronger mixed mixed-use offer, including culture, arts and entertainment developments, as well as looking to optimize land use and manage sprawl as the city, which is already home to 24 million people continues to grow.
BeijingOnce an Emerging World City, Beijing has been steadily growing in strength in recent years. Its assets are increasingly resembling those of Established World cities especially the presence of state-owned enterprises and corporate headquarters while its flourishing innovation ecosystem driven by a thriving start-up scene which is heavily backed by the Chinese government as part of ambitious plans to lead the world in innovation by 2050. The city’s focus is now on addressing congestion, pollution and housing – partly through the development of new cities and regional sub-centres, such as Xiong’an New Area. It’s also growing its global reach, helped by nationwide masterplans such as the Belt and Road Initiative.
The city itself may be small in size but once it leverages the borrowed scale, diversity and knowledge of its wider region known as the ‘Holland Metropole’ its global standing increases dramatically. The city and the region both have a solid knowledge base thanks to high quality universities as well as very strong infrastructure connectivity both internally and externally. Amsterdam itself is moving into the smart economy and the collaborative economy, and has one of the most robust strategies for a sustainable transition of any city. For now it’s lagging in real estate investment yet its appeal will be enhanced by increasing scale and agglomeration, combined with a dynamic business environment.
With its strong corporate presence, home to more than 400 corporate headquarters including JLL along with a solid talent pipeline from high quality universities, Chicago is among the world’s top ten real estate investment destinations. However, it still has sizeable issues to tackle such as managing its chronic structural budget deficit and underfunded pension liability along with its aging infrastructure before it can make the step up to the top group. It is nevertheless, however, focused on becoming a smart city as it looks to distinguish its brand and identity in the face of intense competition from fellow domestic cities including San Francisco, Boston and Dallas.
A top hub for IT and tech innovation, San Francisco is home to some of the world’s most well-known technology firms – including Uber, Airbnb and Twitter. Its reputation as a diverse, open-minded, entrepreneurial city with a high quality of life gives it a strong business appeal. However, the city’s popularity is putting pressure on the limited space. The city is already one of the densest in the country, behind only New York City and it’s the least affordable for housing in the U.S. Its focus is now on updating its infrastructure through initiatives such as the Transbay project and developing better strategies for densification.
The Canadian city combines diverse business sectors with a very strong institutional presence. It may stand to benefit from potential immigration reforms in the U.S., especially in terms of attracting tech talent yet it still has work to do to build its corporate reputation on the world stage and increase its soft power. Like other Canadian cities it also needs better infrastructure investment to cope with population growth.
MadridThe Spanish capital is slowly gaining in international prominence. It’s starting to carve out a niche as one of the world’s most sustainable cities and mayor Manuela Carmena has outlined a new vision for environmental awareness and quality of life. Madrid is also focusing on its smart credentials with a huge digital project designed to improve traffic congestion, pollution and public services in the city. However, it’s still failing to hold its own as a premier real estate investment destination, ranking just 30th overall in 2017 behind the likes of Berlin and Munich. Looking forward, Madrid needs to up its efforts to extend its global reach and attract more business headquarters to the city.
SydneyThe Australian city is gaining in strength through its renewed focus on metropolitan governance and infrastructure, which are helping to support an increasingly dynamic real estate sector. This is getting a further boost from the fact that Sydney has one of the world’s most transparent real estate markets, providing reassurance to its global investor base. However, the population is growing faster than new housing and infrastructure can be built and housing affordability remains a big issue.
The seat of political power in the U.S. is once again a popular real estate investment destination – and a highly transparent market - yet the city’s global power and influence is, to some degree, constrained by the presence of New York and the intense competition among other major U.S. hubs. Its future focus areas include infrastructure financing, reduce its dependence on government and government spending by diversifying its local economy and attracting more innovative industries.