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Who's Number One?

Posted by Will Maitland Weiss
Who's Number One?

The sweet sixteen. The elite eight. The final four. But what does it really come down to…Who’s number ONE?!?!


In the case of The Economist’s Hot Spots: Benchmarking Global City Competitiveness (just released last week), IT’S NEW YORK.


A total of 120 cities were evaluated with 31 indicators for each city (21 qualitative and 10 quantitative) in “eight distinct, thematic categories” like “economic strength,” and “financial maturity,” and “social and cultural character.”


The Economist journalists write in their executive summary:


“Competitiveness is a holistic concept. While economic size and growth are important and necessary, several other factors determine a city’s competitiveness, including its business and regulatory environment, the quality of human capital, and cultural aspects. These factors not only help sustain high economic growth rates, but also create a stable and harmonious business and social environment. Against this backdrop, we define competitiveness as the demonstrated ability to attract capital, business, talent, and visitors.”


I love this stuff.


Let’s face it: I love when New York wins.


You love it when your city, your team, your organization wins—as you should; but, this isn’t a fluff press release from the tourism/convention agency and it isn’t, ultimately, about New York.


For those of you non-econ majors and global naifs, The Economist has been published out of London since 1843. Per Wikipedia, its readership “targets highly educated and claims an audience containing many influential executives and policymakers.”


The Economist goes on:


“Well over half the world’s population now lives in cities, generating more than 80% of global GDP [when we in the arts proudly point to our piece of the economic pie, this is the whole bakery]. Already, global business is beginning to plan strategy from a city, rather than a country, perspective. Asian cities dominate the ‘economic strength’ category—the most highly weighted. All but five of the top-20 cities are Asian [NYC is fourth; only two other US cities in the the top 20 are LA (17) and Houston (18); there are no European cities].


[BUT] the most significant advantage that developed country cities hold is their ability to develop and attract the world’s top talent. This stems primarily from the quality of their educational systems and the entrepreneurial mindset of their citizens. But other factors bolster their performance, too, such as CULTURAL ACTIVITIES and a generally good quality of life. New York Mayor Bloomberg says such factors are a key part of maintaining competitiveness: ‘I’ve always believed that talent attracts capital more effectively and consistently than capital attracts talent.’”


What makes your city or town attractive to business investment and growth? A livability factor to which the arts contribute mightily.


What is attracting and retaining talent in your community? “Influential executives and policymakers” may know, or may need to be reminded. Tell them. Quote The Economist.


This blog was originally posted on ARTSblog.


*Photo Courtesy of NYCStreets

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