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How do great cities actually work?

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) tackles this question in the seventh edition of its Cities of Opportunity report, exploring the ways successful cities weave together complex systems (technology, healthcare, transportation etc.) to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate challenges.

The study ranks 30 global cities on 67 variables (based predominantly on 2014 and 2015 data) that are divided into 10 indicator categories. These categories are organized into three families of information: tools for a changing world, quality of life, and economics. Overall, London ranks first, with Singapore, Toronto, Paris, and Amsterdam rounding out the top five.

The findings of the study reveal patterns that have important implications for policy makers, economic developers, and others involved in the growth of cities. Variables like quality of living and senior well-being, for instance, are closely correlated with overall performance in the study. Toronto, for example, has consistently performed well in previous Cities of Opportunity editions. While it doesn’t rank in the top 10 when it comes to things like entertainment and attractions, it ranks first for quality of living, the variable that shows the closest relationship with overall success in the report.

Along with the importance of variables like quality of life when it comes to attracting investment and talent, the report highlights the need for cities to balance complex systems, the significance of intellectual work in modern city economies, and the need for a dependable workforce. Cities are facing a number of challenges, but those that understand and play to their unique strengths can outperform their competitors in the global competition for growth and talent.

This post first appeared in TINAN 74. Subscribe to TINAN for the latest economic development news and resources.