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Ranking reveals smartest and most sustainable cities

Prepared by IESE Business School´s Centre for Globalisation and Strategy, the Cities in Motion Index 2020 analyses the level of development of 174 world cities.

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London is well placed in almost all nine dimensions used for the ranking
London is well placed in almost all nine dimensions used for the ranking

London has once again been revealed as the smartest and most sustainable city in the world, according to the seventh edition of the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2020.

 

Prepared by IESE Business School´s Centre for Globalisation and Strategy, the annual index analyses the level of development of 174 world cities.

 

Sustainable cities

 

The cities are analysed across nine dimensions considered key to truly sustainable cities. These are: human capital (developing, attracting and nurturing talent); social cohesion (consensus among the different social groups in a city); economy; environment; governance; urban planning; international projection; technology; and mobility and transportation (ease of movement and access to public services).

 

New York takes the second spot in the index, followed by Paris. The top 10 list is rounded out by Tokyo (4), Reykjavik (5), Copenhagen (6), Berlin (7), Amsterdam (8), Singapore (9) and Hong Kong (10). At the other end of the index are Lagos, Nigeria (171), Lahore (172) and Karachi (173), Pakistan, and Caracas, Venezuela (174)

 

According to the report authors, professors Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart, London’s world-leading ranking is due to it being well placed in almost all nine dimensions. The city comes in first place for human capital, second place for governance and urban planning, and is in the top 10 for the dimensions of mobility and transportation, and technology. Its worst performance can be seen in the dimensions of social cohesion (64th), and the environment (35th).

Promoting a new focus on urban resilience is essential and it can be achieved by combining a solid infrastructure with agile and efficient management

Meanwhile, New York City’s second place is down to the economy, urban planning, mobility and transportation (all position 1) and human capital (position 3). The metropolis also fares poorly in social cohesion (151st) and the environment (69th).

 

Third in the overall ranking is Paris with a “very good” performance in mobility and transportation, as well as in international projection (2nd in both dimensions). It also occupies a prominent position in human capital, the economy and urban planning.

 

Globally, cities in Europe continue to dominate the ranking, the index finds, with 27 among the top 50. This select group also includes 14 cities in North American, five in Asia and four in Oceania.

 

Contextualising these results amid the current pandemic, the report’s authors, provide a set of conclusions and recommendations which highlight the relevance of urban resilience today and the need to promote public-private collaborations:

  1. People first The Covid-19 crisis makes it clear that smart urban design must focus on the quality of life for its people. In this sense, cities should emphasise the joint advancement of social cohesion and the economy for a just recovery.
  2. Identify what is essential in your city City managers must determine their top priorities and which needs require the most resources, time and effort.
  3. New strategies for a new environment Covid-19 will impose a new future on cities. For example, social distancing measures mean low-cost mass tourism will no longer be an option for many cities; traditional retail will face tougher competition online; public transportation will have to be redesigned; and public interactions in green spaces may change. Cities will have to adapt to this new scenario.
  4. Resilience as a new urban paradigm The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of cities’ capacity to overcome traumatic circumstances. Promoting a new focus on urban resilience is essential and it can be achieved by combining a solid infrastructure with agile and efficient management.
  5. Recovery through collaboration If all social actors (the public sector, private companies, civic organisations and academic institutions) collaborate, cities bounce back quicker. We must break down the silos that prevent leaders from seeing possible synergies.
  6. Link between territories In recent decades, the growing hegemony of the city has come at a cost to the countryside. However, during the health crisis, territories’ interrelation and dependency are increasingly clear. Reconsidering and strengthening urban-rural links can create more efficient systems.
  7. Lead by example For a quick, effective, and inclusive recovery, urban managers should lead by example, guided by principles of justice and collaboration for the benefit of all. “Ultimately," the authors conclude, “we will need urban managers who apply the concept of smart governance, which includes accurate diagnosis, clear vision and multidimensional management of challenges."

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