Sunday, May 8, 2011

Do you know your cities?

Major metropolitan areas around the world are often thought of in terms of congestion, population density, as destinations for tourists, centers of political and economic activity.  As drivers of the world’s GDP?  Maybe not so precisely.   Yet what happens in these areas matters today and their impact is likely to increase.  It is predicted that by 2030 approximately 60% of the world population will live in urban areas.

 To begin to understand the contributions of these areas that combine cities and suburbs  take the Marketplace Globalist Quiz: When Cities Rule the World ( published in a recent edition of The Globalist magazine. (    The quiz was drawn from the December 2010 Global MetroMonitor report prepared by The Brookings Institution and the  London School of Economics.  This document details the economic experience of  150 metropolitan areas around the world  - pre, during and post the most recent Financial Crisis/Great Recession.   ( 

The basic query of the Quiz:  What significant economic value do these collections of people, buildings, innovation, commercial activity bring to our world?

Their answer:  46%, almost half of the global GDP comes from these economic centers.  By contrast their populations estimated at 800 million people represent just 12% of our global population.  Relatively few people with significant impact.

Which of the countries studied performed best in income and employment growth during the recovery?  Istanbul, Shenzhen, China, Lima, Peru; Singapore and Santiago, Chile.   The best performing area in the US?  Austin, Texas and in Europe,  Krakow, Poland. Surprised?

Wondering about the prospects for your city, one where you plan to open a business,  or to visit for a holiday?  Check out the Global MetroMonitor for all the details and see where the recovery is strong and where the struggles continue.

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