Research article

London's Place and Face

London is a global powerhouse and tops Savills World City Ranking.

London is one of the most diverse, globally connected, competitive, high performing cities in the world, on a wide variety of measures. We have combined four of the most widely quoted indicators of World City prominence. These measure global connectedness (GaWC), performance and potential (Kearney), power (Mori) and global competitiveness (EIU). Together, these create the Savills World City Ranking.

Figure 1

FIGURE 1World City Ranking

Source: Savills World Research, GaWC, Kearney, Mori, EIU

London and New York stand out far ahead of other cities and illustrate how a unique combination of strengths marks them out as global powerhouses. We have dubbed London a ‘polymath city’ for being so pre-eminent in a wide range of aspects of city life (see Working Well). It might be worth noting, however, that although ranking high economically, London, and indeed the rest of the world cities tend not to rate so high on the ‘softer’ social and environmental issues.

It is also notable that none of the 20 cities rate in the top ten of the Economist’s ‘Liveability Ranking’, for example. Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index 2015 places London in 90th place out of 150 cities, ahead of Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow and Beijing but behind the other 14 cities (only Frankfurt makes it into Numbeo’s top 20).

Figure 2

FIGURE 2World City Governance

Source: Savills World Research

It would seem that being a top performing world city comes at a price. Pollution can be higher (though London’s is slightly below average), and real estate costs in the 20 cities are significantly higher than in other global cities but, surprisingly, London’s are not among the highest when mainstream housing costs are measured against average household incomes.

This dubious honour belongs to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow and Singapore. Traffic congestion and long commutes are another side effect of economic success but London does not fare too badly here, in comparison to other world cities. If Numbeo is to be believed, London’s main downfall in the quality of life rankings (in common with most of the other 20 cities) is that the purchasing power of individuals is low, in relation to average incomes and consumer prices are high.

City Hall is home to the Mayor of London

Other articles within this publication

9 other article(s) in this publication