The best cities in the world tend to have a fundamental buzz – an energy you can feel and which makes them popular destinations to visit, live and work in. These cities typically have great bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, music venues and museums, and radiate excitement and creativity.
Take London, Tokyo and New York, which came top when we measured the buzz of 22 cities as part of our Tech Cities research. All three offer everything outlined above and more, and are all magnets for global talent and innovation. As a result, these cities have become some of the world’s key destinations for new tech occupiers and start-ups as companies look to capture and trade off that energy and also to employ the type of people that these cities tend to attract.
But buzzy cities can have downsides: being popular on a world stage tends to lead to high property and living costs, and can lead to overcrowding and congestion. While this is highly unlikely to put people off moving to these cities entirely, it's definitely the case that younger generations of talent are increasingly looking for something different. These young workers want to strike a better balance between living in fun, energetic cities and maintaining their physical and mental health. Buzz alone may not be enough to attract these potential workers – many of whom are either already employed or are looking to start careers in tech and its related industries – to a city.
For this reason we have, for the first time, also ranked our 22 Tech Cities by wellness. This reveals a very different top three cities: Copenhagen, Stockholm and Melbourne. These cities fare well as ‘healthy’ cities with low crime and pollution rates, quality parks and public spaces, and low congestion. Amsterdam, Berlin and Austin (the world’s top tech city in our overall rankings) are also highly rated.
With the exception of Melbourne, which has managed to retain its ‘well’ ethos and liveability even as it has expanded, these cities are generally much smaller than those which come top of the buzz rankings, and therefore offer workers the possibility of shorter commutes, easier access to amenities and a better work/life balance.
This wellness ranking potentially gives us an indication of some of the cities that may find increasing favour with tech occupiers over the coming years as they look to meet the wellbeing needs of existing staff and look to attract new younger recruits. That said, buzz is, and will remain, a crucial element of a thriving tech city, but the growing importance of wellness should not be underestimated.