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News Release

City winners and city beginners

 ​Istanbul is consistently the most improved city since 2010 according to new research released today by global real estate firm JLL in partnership with The Business of Cities Group. The report, which analyses over 200 globally recognised city performance indices1 to understand the comparative performance of cites, also identifies New York, London, Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong as the top 5 performing cities across six leading all-round indices.

While there has broadly been stability at the top of the global rankings, further down has seen high levels of flux in the past three years, as cities readjust to the geography of global opportunity.

Across six leading indices covering everything from financial services to city image, Istanbul is the most consistently improved over the recent time frame. In particular it has cemented its status as a diversified onshore provider of financial services, and has regularly overtaken medium-sized established cities owing to its scale and gateway functions. Other cities to show marked progress since 2010 include Mumbai, Seoul and Dubai.

"In the 21st century, the pace at which new cities arrive on the global scene is faster than ever. In the new cycle of globalisation, emerging cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Nairobi and Delhi are increasingly seeking to enter the global economy and accelerate growth through innovation and technology start-ups." Said Rosemary Feenan, International Director, Global Research at JLL. "Similarly, mature innovation centres such as San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, Tel Aviv and Cambridge and high quality of life cities, such as Stockholm and Zurich, are also combining their infrastructure and educational assets to become genuine start-up hubs to help cement and accelerate their position on the world stage." ​

Singapore and Stockholm are among the major improvers at the top of the city rankings in the last two years. Singapore's success story has taken on new dimensions as it overtakes Tokyo and Paris in a majority of leading indices for the first time. It leads the Asian charge in higher education, mobility, science, broadband and technology platform indices, and is the world 'number one' city for business friendliness. The city's brand rankings also indicate that it is beginning to shake off its reputation for a lack of vibrancy among expats and tourists.

Stockholm's consistency across growth, knowledge and quality dimensions has seen it steadily improve its position, especially within Europe. The Swedish capital is now not only among the world's best for governance, urban planning and sustainability, but also displays strong cluster effects. Unusually among its peers, both its ICT and manufacturing sectors have grown their GVA by around 25% since 2008.3​

"It has never been more important to understand city performance. The ability of cities to attract investment, manage their growth, and deliver quality of life will define the character and ultimately the success of the

'metropolitan century'." Said Greg Clark, Chairman, The Business of Cities and JLL's Cities Research Center. "In aggregate, benchmarks and indices can offer real insight into the pathways and strategic opportunities for cities, and for those living and working in them. The improved performances of Istanbul, Santiago and Seoul illustrate how cities can, and do, alter their positions in indices over time. Changes have been achieved by lifting standards, altering perceptions, supplying new information, engaging in partnerships, adding new rankings, and through many other mechanisms."