London holds top position in the Global Cities Outlook rankings, driven by consistent performance over a five-year span

LONDON, UK – The A.T. Kearney 2019 Global Cities report has found that despite the uncertainty around Brexit, London has taken the top spot as the leading city in the firm’s annual Global Cities Outlook.

This year’s report combines the Global Cities Index and Global Cities Outlook to assess the best places for businesses to invest now, and in the future, with a look into the current performance of the world’s top cities and the potential of upcoming powerhouses. London has moved up to first place in the Outlook for 2019, having taken the #3 spot in last year’s rankings.

While the Index reflects cities’ current performance, the Outlook reveals which cities are primed to be the next generation of global hubs by assessing four metrics: personal wellbeing, economics, innovation, and governance. Across these metrics a number of previously leading outlook cities have faltered recently, and this coupled with London’s historically steady performance has resulted in this year’s top position for the UK capital. London’s ranking as the #1 city in the future and #2 today is in part due to investment in cultural experiences, where the capital was the highest-ranked in three out of five categories: international travellers, sporting events, and culinary experiences. Also boosting London’s ranking is increased investment in governance and personal wellbeing, including additional security measures and improvements to the quality of private and public healthcare in the city.

London currently has 72 of the world’s Michelin star restaurants, according to the 2018 Michelin Guide, so it is unsurprising that consumers continue to head to the capital for some of the world’s best dining experiences. With the city playing host to major sporting events such as Wimbledon, the ICC Cricket World Cup and the US’ NFL London Championships in 2019 too, London will continue to see an influx of sport-driven international tourism this year.

“While the true impact of Brexit is yet to come, London’s consistently strong performance in recent years puts the city in good stead for the future. Commitment to key areas such as innovation, cultural experiences, and human capital will be the defining factor in the next generation of the world’s most influential cities. Cultural and creative industries contribute £47bn to London’s economy every year and the Mayor of London recently invested an initial £7m to develop Creative Enterprise Zones in different parts of the city. As London continues to invest in strategies for the future, London may top the rankings of both the Index and the Outlook next year,” said Andrew Stewart, Managing Partner, UK & Ireland, A.T. Kearney.

2019 Global Cities Index

 For more than a decade, A.T. Kearney’s Global Cities report has been highlighting the importance of urban development and informing cities’ strategies for the future. The firm’s analysis shows that for the third year in a row, New York City is the world’s most powerful and influential city, holding on to its top spot this year thanks to strong scores in business activity and human capital. The city was closely followed by London and Paris.

 “For global corporations, decisions about where to site a new location need to account for vital factors such as the availability of talent, the vibrancy of the business community, and the efficacy of the existing infrastructure,” said Andrés Mendoza Peña, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “The Index offers a way to assess which cities can deliver in the areas that are most important for future business success.”

 2019 Global Cities Outlook

 While London takes the top spot, other urban hubs are struggling to keep up. After four years at the top of the Outlook, San Francisco has dropped to third place—still scoring high in innovation, but up-and-coming cities are outpacing the tech hub in personal wellbeing and governance.