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New York ranked world's premier tech city

Metrics used to rank cities included the number of days it takes to start a business and the price of a flat white coffee

New York is named the world's top tech city by Savills
New York is named the world's top tech city by Savills

New York has been ranked the world’s foremost centre for technology with San Francisco, London, Amsterdam and Boston in the top five.


According to the third Savills Tech Cities global research programme, it provides the business environment, talent pool, lifestyle and transport links to make it the premier base for companies, according to the third iteration of Tech Cities, Savills global research programme.


New York’s major technology company arrivals this year included Amazon. San Francisco was beaten into second place, partly because it has the highest co-working costs. London ranks in third place, having performed well in mobility and ‘buzz’. It remains the dominant tech hub in Europe with three times more venture capital investment in 2018 than Paris.


What makes a successful tech city?


The Savills index measures success against 100 individual metrics, ranging from the number of days needed to start a business through to the cost of a flat white coffee, grouped into six categories: business environment, tech environment, city buzz and wellness, talent pool, real estate costs, and mobility. Each category is weighted to reflect its importance to the tech sector.


For the first time, Savills has measured ‘mobility’ as part of its Tech Cities ranking: with global urbanisation rising, a city’s ability to get people from A to B efficiently is rising in importance, says Savills. Even if a city has a good pool of tech talent, if employees cannot get to their workplace quickly and cheaply this will harm the prospects for tech occupiers, and the overall success of the city.


Savills has considered three elements when assessing mobility: the availability, density and investment in shared mobility services, the scale and level of innovation in the city’s metro system, and the quality of urban infrastructure.

“Savills 30 Tech Cities are among the fastest growing in the world: measured by metro area, together they’re forecast to add another 18 million inhabitants in the next decade”

While not leading in any single category, London ranks first overall for mobility, says Savills: its public transport system offers smart ticketing (mobile, contactless, Oyster), integrated across all transport modes (from rail to bus). Pollution remains a major issue, however, while upgrading the world’s oldest metro system poses ongoing challenges.


“Savills 30 Tech Cities are among the fastest growing in the world: measured by metro area, together they’re forecast to add another 18 million inhabitants in the next decade,” said Nicky Wightman, director of global occupier trends at Savills, comments. “This will put ever greater pressure on existing infrastructure, posing a risk to city competitiveness, hence why mobility is now an important component in our index, with many of our Tech Cities at the forefront of addressing the issue.


“While London is the best mobility all rounder, it’s lower than it should be on shared methods of transport, and could take lessons on how to do this better from the Asian cities. Vice versa, Asian and US Tech Cities can learn lessons from London and other European tech hubs on how to improve the quality of urban infrastructure and making their transport networks more sustainable.”


Singapore, often ranked the ‘smartest’ city in the world is in sixth place. The US cities of Los Angeles and Austin are also in the top 10 (seventh and eighth position, respectively) and the Scandinavian countries of Stockholm and Copenhagen are ninth and tenth.


Rise of China’s tech cities


Paul Tostevin, associate director in Savills world research team, and lead researcher on Tech Cities, added: “One of the most interesting trends we’ve noted in the last two years is the rise of China’s Tech Cities. While largely mid-table overall, these cities now account for more VC investment than their US counterparts: the US-city share of the VC investment into our 30 Tech Cities has dropped from a 40 per cent share to 28 per cent since 2012, while Chinese cities have seen their share rise from 11 per cent to 36 per cent over the same period.


“Beijing has by far the greatest VC investment, but our ranking puts Shanghai ahead as a more ‘global’ tech city, however, thanks to an international business environment and better of quality of life for residents.”


For the full ranking go to Savills Tech Cities


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