Arts and Culture

These are the 10 most magnetic cities in the world

A bus crosses Waterloo bridge in front of the Houses of Parliament during a misty morning in London April 13, 2012.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor  (BRITAIN - Tags: CITYSPACE POLITICS TRANSPORT ENVIRONMENT) - RTR30O79

Image: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Rosamond Hutt
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We often think of ‘magnetism’ as a human quality, as well as a physical phenomenon. Cities also have the power to draw people to them.

The Global Power City Index (GPCI) ranks the world’s most important cities according to their ‘magnetism’, that is, their perceived power to attract creative people and businesses from across the globe, and to “mobilize their assets” to boost economic, social and environmental development.

The Index, compiled by Japan’s Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of 42 global cities based on six criteria: economy; research and development; cultural interaction; livability; environment; and accessibility.

Image: Global Power City Index, Mori Memorial Foundation
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Which cities come out on top?

In the 2016 report (the first GPCI was released in 2008), London kept its No.1 spot for the fifth year running, despite a slight drop in its overall score. Ratings in the ‘economy’ category fell, but the UK capital was strong on ‘cultural interaction’, with an increase in the number of overseas visitors and students.

The report notes that data was gathered before the June 2016 Brexit vote. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of foreign visitors to the UK increased by 3% in 2016, and in the three months to December this figure was 6% higher than the same three months in 2015. The plunge in the value of the pound following the referendum result has given London a tourism boost, but the long-term effects of Brexit remain unclear.

New York maintained its second place on the GPCI, also for the fifth year in a row. NYC turned in another set of strong results in the categories of ‘economy’, ‘research and development’ and ‘cultural interaction’.

The rising sun lights One World Trade as it stands over the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 2, 2016.
Image: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Tokyo leapfrogged Paris to move into the top three for the first time, having been fourth for the past eight years. Its improved ratings were due to a number of factors, the 2016 report says, including a cut in Japan’s corporation tax rate, a rise in the number of visitors from abroad and more direct flight connections to overseas destinations. Tokyo’s ‘livability’ score also received a boost from lower housing and general living costs (in US dollar terms).

Paris’s lower ‘cultural interaction’ ratings were due to a fall in the number of overseas visitors, international students and foreign residents. The report says the November 2015 terrorist attacks are likely to have had an impact on these figures.

Singapore held onto fifth place, despite experiencing a decrease in its overall ratings because of slowing GDP growth and a decline in total employment.

Commuters walk to the train station during evening rush hour in the financial district of Singapore March 9, 2015. When Singapore celebrated its 50th birthday as an independent country in August,the city state bore little resemblance to the tiny island nation that was expelled from Malaysia in 1965. Its physical stature has swollen by 20 percent thanks to one of the world’s most aggressive land reclamation drives.  REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYPICTURE 2 OF 31 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY 'EARTHPRINTS: SINGAPORE' SEARCH 'EARTHPRINTS SINGAPORE' FOR ALL IMAGES          - RTS7WG7
Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su/

Two more Asian cities, Seoul and Hong Kong, were ranked sixth and seventh, while three European capitals -- Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna -- rounded off the top 10.

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