San Francisco named World’s Most Dynamic City

Posted on 29 January, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

The United States has scooped the first ever ranking of the world’s “most dynamic” locations with six of its cities taking top 20 places.  First place in the debut City Momentum Index, organised and published by Jones Lang LaSalle, went to San Francisco. The lowest placed US city was Seattle at number 18, with New York, Austin, San Jose, Los Angeles and Boston scattered in between.


Assessed for their “short term socio-economic and commercial real estate momentum and foundations for longer term success”, London was judged a close second with a highly-praised Dubai in third place.

“The true foundation of highly dynamic cities emerges from such factors as speed of innovation and creation of cutting-edge businesses along with new building construction, property price movement and investment in real estate from cross-border investors and corporations,” explained Jeremy Kelly, LaSalle’s director of global research.

The index examined 111 cities worldwide with a weighted overall score based on 34 short-term and longer term variables including the volume of commercial property sales, technology, innovation, rapid urbanisation, growing consumer base, and upcoming global events like a future Olympics.

The top 10 cities were: San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Wuhan, New York, Austin, Hong Kong, San Jose and Singapore.

The index also looked at short-term factors such as changes in GDP and population, air passenger traffic, corporate headquarters presence, levels of foreign direct investment, office leasing, office construction, office rents, shopping mall construction and retail rents, direct commercial real estate investment volumes and real estate transparency.

“By taking a unique look at the combination of short-term variables and sustainable long-term characteristics,” Kelly said, “the City Momentum Index provides a look into underlying city dynamics, adaptability and real estate market characteristics.”

Of the lower ranked cities only four were non-Asian; Shenzen, Jakarta, Beijing, Chengdu, Los Angeles, Tianjin, Boston, Seattle, Tokyo and Lima.

With the exception of London, European cities are absent at the very top of the list, but the index did include several European cities which “possess the attributes for longer term success”. Among these were Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam; all praised for their strengths in talent and new technologies.

Of all the 111 cities under scrutiny the index appears to have singled out Dubai for the most attention which, it claimed, was “bouncing back from a deep slump in its economy and real estate market since the global financial crisis”. Securing Expo 2020 had also helped it secure its top three place.

“The index not only offers a fresh and uniquely comprehensive perspective that identifies the signals of change and characteristics of city momentum,” Kelly added. “But it also measures the infrastructure dynamism, connectivity and innovation that we believe will be steering many investment and location decisions in the future, though investors and corporates should note that high momentum can pose both risk and opportunity.”

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