In the Global City Ranking of 2021, London was voted the world's 'city of choice' by taking a human-centric approach to understanding cities.
There is a growing awareness amongst urban planners, analysts, business leaders and both local and national governments about how we assess and rank our global cities. The common metrics we used before - from the cost of living, to employment rates, to housing availability - while important performance markers for a city, are not the whole picture.
This understanding has led, in recent years, to the development of another city assessment criteria that focus on the happiness levels of a city’s residents. Yes, you read that right - residents’ happiness levels.
Ok, we know happiness is subjective and in the greater sense hard to measure. But when it comes to urban living there are ways to calculate how satisfied people are with their lives and if they have long term plans to stay in the city, and if they would recommend the city to others including friends and family.
In their most recent report Cities of Choice Global City Rankings June 2021, the Boston Consulting Group is taking the traditional approach to how we rank and rate cities, and prioritizing on the factors that really matter and which contribute to optimum residents wellbeing.
They take a human-centric approach to understanding how attractive cities are to live in. They believe that there are a number of key factors drawing people to urban centres and cities that get these right are going to be the most popular.
They believe that people want to see in their cities are:
Resource Conservation - not just a city adopting a more sustainable approach to how it is run, but one that distributes its resources fairly amongst all its residents, and ensures every resident can access key urban resources.
Talent attraction - cities that provide employment and opportunities for everyone, including creatives and small business owners, as well as large conglomerates.
They also value project connection, a lack of conflict, safe and secure election results and most importantly connection.
This is what makes the Boston Consulting Group's study so unique, and at the same time so important. The study rates the ability of urban residents to build social networks and create connections with others. This is not something your average city liveability survey takes into account.
Why is this important? Well beyond the basic premise, that all humans need quality interactions and connections for a meaningful life - young urban residents today want more. They want to build professional and personal networks in an environment that is not always conducive to that, they want to combat urban social isolation and loneliness head on, they want to rebuild the concept of community again.
The Cities of Choice Global City Rankings survey also identifies that different cities have different characteristics. From a global megapolis like New York, to a specialist city such as Zurich, an emerging city like Dubai, a comfortable city like Sydney and a new start city like Beijing. The uniqueness of each city also adds to its overall attractiveness but also reminds us that no survey, however comprehensive, can capture the very essence of a city. Only walking its streets can do that.
The Cities of Choice Global City Rankings study looked at a number of global cities across the world, collecting data through online surveys.
Their main areas of focus were -
Quality of Life
Interactions with authorities
Speed of Change
This year’s top of the table was London - scoring highly in all areas of the study, barring speed of change. It topped the table of cities with a score of 65.7 out of 100. New York was second with a score of 64.9.
London scored highly in terms of quality of life, economic opportunity and social capital. Scores that ultimately pushed it to the top spot of global cities. It scored highest when it came to mobility, quality and availability of public spaces, entertainment and recreation facilities, work and career opportunities, strong cultural identity, safety and good government services.
It also scored well in terms of medical care, ecology, its resilience to emergency situations, standard of living, business opportunities and inclusivity.
When it comes to urban living London seems to get it right - it provides the crucial career and business opportunities that are demanded of a global city but it balances this with rich cultural and social activities, as well as great public transportation and public spaces. London’s diversity is also crucial in pushing its inclusivity scores higher.
No city is perfect and London, like any city, still has a lot to do when it comes to boosting its residents' wellbeing and happiness. But the first step is understanding that their wellbeing matters and that it is a key indicator of quality of life.
At Vonder we understand the importance of connection, so much so that we have built our all in one living complexes around placing relationships at the centre of how people live, work and play. At our brand new flagship location in Wembley, you’re promised not only a beautiful, fully furnished place to live, but a community of like-minded people as well. We are proud to call London our home.