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NYC vs. the World's Largest Cities

Barbara Byrne Denham - Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I often get swept up in all of the regional economic statistics every month trying to explain where the economy and real estate market is headed and neglect to consider where New York City stands as a global city. 

Every now and then I thoroughly appreciate a more macro analysis of the New York City economy vis-à-vis the rest of the world. One of the best studies I’ve seen in years that compares New York to other large cities around the world was conducted by the New York City Partnership and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The study, “Cities of Opportunity 2011,” its fourth annual analysis, features the performance of 26 cities, all capitals of finance, commerce and culture. 

The methodology was designed to maximize transparency and simplicity for readers. It uses publicly available data supported from global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank, national statistics organizations and commercial data providers. A total of 66 variables were selected and divided into the following 10 indicator groups: intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; transportation and infrastructure; health, safety and security; sustainability; economic clout; ease of doing business; cost; demographics and livability, and finally, lifestyle assets (culture) which New York City scored the highest in along with technology readiness. 

The surprising and impressive result of the study is that overall New York outranks all of the other cities on the above criteria with a slim edge over Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney. 

Even more illuminating are the interviews from a series of experts including Rem Koolhaas, Judith Rodin and Mortimer Zuckerman. All are both complimentary and critical of New York and other cities but their perspectives from lifelong careers provide sound advice to any urban enthusiast. Check out the study on

Barbara Byrne Denham directs the Research Center at Eastern Consolidated and is the Editor of its two quarterly newsletters, The MetroGrid Report and Manhattan Economic Indicators, the monthly NYC Employment Alert, as well as a series of Research Reports, all of which are regularly cited in the press.
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