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How the best cities manage to stay future proof.

In 1960 30% of the world's population was living in cities, today that number has increased to over 55% and in 2050 68% will be urban dwellers. Cities are hot. But considering this fast growth and global urbanization, what makes people and businesses choose one city over another? And more importantly what cities are leading the list?

By leveraging a range of strategies and tactics, destination marketers can effectively communicate the value and appeal of their destination. But what is the secret sauce that marketers of the best performing cities use? It seems it has everything to do with these four surprisingly simple ingredients. The best cities have successfully added these to their mix to create a future proof recipe that attracts people and businesses. And with it comes economic growth and prosperity.

Ingredient number 1: Adapt to the needs of younger people

Best City Score: 1. Berlin 2. Montréal 3. London

T he thriving heart of cities is people working, living and playing in the place they love and the community they feel connected to. Richard Florida took a closer look at why people live where they do. He concludes that people moving to cities are looking for the following key things that matter to them most about the neighborhoods they live in;

  • housing costs,
  • proximity to jobs,
  • transit, amenities,
  • open space, and
  • quality of both built and natural environments.

These key factors vary by age and stage of life.

Digitally native, entrepreneurial and well-traveled, millennials are not afraid to relocate halfway across the world for the right opportunities and experiences.

Nestpick analysed 110 cities, taking four main concerns into consideration: Is there work available? Can you afford to live a good life? Is the city open and tolerant? And finally, can you have fun? Within these larger categories, they looked into micro factors such as internet speed; especially important to those millennials working remotely, gender equality; a top priority for young people, and the startup ecosystem; attracting those hungry for quick progression and exciting opportunities.

We must learn to adapt to the needs of younger people in order to have a thriving economy, and we believe that this ranking offers valuable insights to those cities looking for regeneration from a younger demographic.

Ömer Kücükdere, Managing Director of Nestpick

Ingredient number 2: Create an innovation culture

Best City Score: 1. Berlin 2. Tel Aviv 3. Helsinki

S mart startups that are looking to grow their business need to test, validate and modify their innovations in real markets and with help of existing market players. Established businesses want to open up their networks for and share their knowledge & challenges they are facing with startups in order to find innovative solutions.

So for innovation to prosper, proximity to a connected startup ecosystem is a major driver. Firms & startups want to be close to other firms & startups, universities and research labs. They want to be in hyper connected surroundings with great amenities. Good coffee places seem to be one of them ; ).

Berlin coming out on top again as a startup city this time. According to Valuer Berlin’s startup scene offers a few unique competitive advantages – diversity and inclusiveness. Living costs are affordable with average office rent. The atmosphere is ideal for people with an entrepreneurial spirit. If you start a business in Berlin you’re likely to get support from investors, apply for government funds or meet the many inspiring people.

In order to understand what makes startup revolutions possible, people focus on numbers. They should instead focus on the quality of life and unique specifics that each city can bring to a startup.

Anna Thorsen - Valuer

Ingredient number 3: Connect cities and towns

Best City Score: 1. Tokyo 2. Shanghai 3. Jakarta

A s cities grow so do the towns surrounding them, forming larger metropolitan areas. Increased mobility & connectivity allow us to move continuously throughout our metros. Live or work in one place, play in another, enjoy nature in a third, but connected to all.

The biggest metropolitan area in the world is Tokyo with a total population of 38 million people living in this mega city.

Ingredient number 4: Embrace local history

Best City Score: 1. Tokyo 2. Kyoto 3. Melbourne

L ook at the lay out of a city from above and it will tell you a great deal about its history and how power shifted in time. Buildings, structures and spaces each have a story to tell. When you travel you make sure you get some of this history “in”. At home you probably are proud of some of the local stories & heroes in your town. And for your place of business you are looking for a cool place with “character”.

But it gets really exciting when the old and the new are mixed in a way that thrills with contradiction. That is why Tokyo is topping the Condé Nast Traveler list of the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. Tokyo is ultramodern, has neon-lit skyscrapers and tranquil temples, unmatchable street style and centuries-old etiquette. It’s like a fever dream you don’t want to wake up from.

Understanding our city's history is important as it bridges cultures, it enables us to learn, adds to a sense of belonging and is a great selling point for business. History provides the foundation to build a new future.

Caroline Vrauwdeunt, Map Your City's Founder

To recap

There it is: Adapt to the needs of young people, Create an innovation culture, Connect cities & towns and Embrace local history. Four ingredients that will guaranteed drive cities forward, and it seems Berlin and Tokyo are leading the future proof cities list.

Can you tell how your city scores?

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