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Beijing is the world's 23rd most attractive major city, new study says

But what does that even mean?

Image: Zhang Kaiyv via Unsplash
Some smart people who care a lot about urban planning, data and comparing the world's metropolises have been ranking cities for the last ten years based on a variety of factors, with an aim to measure a city's 'comprehensive power to attract people'. Neat! The Global Power City Index (GPCI), an initiative of Japan's Mori Memorial Foundation's Institute for Urban Strategies, researches and scores six different 'functions' to create its rather thorough ranking system, and this year, has placed Beijing at number 23 among 44 of the world's most attractive cities.

While 23rd may be the 22nd loser (and, yes, we did slip a whole ten places from last year's placement), there is still cause for celebration – we finished three spots above the folks down in Shanghai, who wallow at number 26. Taste it.

But what does it all really mean? And how do they do it? Firstly, the researchers gathered data on 44 major cities of the world. Then, using 70 different indicators, they ranked those cities based on average indicators, then indicator groups and overall function until a comprehensive list of averaged rankings was assembled. Does that make little sense? See below for our handy PowerPoint art that explains just a handful of these criteria.




Once the cities were scored according to these indicators, and all the numbers totted up, the final 2018 list was compiled and published earlier this month. And the award for World's Most Attractive City goes to... London – again. The UK capital came first in the 'cultural interaction' category, second in 'economy' and 'accessibility', and third for 'research and development', placements that contributed towards it nailing down its overall ranking at the top of the tree for the seventh year in a row. It did come 11th in 'livability' and 19th in 'environment', though – you can't have it all, eh?

Beijing's ten-place drop from 13 to 23 is due to GPCI's inclusion of more indicators for 2018, namely 'new working styles, the rise of startups, and global environmental issues'. But, when you look more closely at the details of Beijing's fall from 13th-placed grace, it's mostly to do with 'accessibility': the specific indicators regarding traffic congestion and business support services seemed to have done the most damage to the ranking.

As for Shanghai, the southern city – who placed 15th last year – dropped in the 'Economy' function, with indicators such as 'variety of workplace options' coming in at 44th – the bottom of the lot. Where Beijing did do well, however, was in economy (4), research and development (14) and cultural interaction (7). The livability (34), environment (44) and accessibility (21) functions didn't show as much promise... this year.

London, in all its attractive glory. Image: Luca Micheli via Unsplash.

Finally, the top ten cities are:

1 London
2 New York
3 Tokyo
4 Paris
5 Singapore
6 Amsterdam
7 Seoul
8 Berlin
9 Hong Kong
10 Sydney

And the bottom ten:

34 Istanbul
35 Taipei
36 Bangkok
37 Fukuoka
38 Buenos Aires
39 Mexico City
40 Sao Paulo
41 Jakarta
42 Johannesburg
43 Mumbai
44 Cairo

So, if you didn't already know it, now you know that London has the world's most comprehensive power to attract you. Feel the pull.

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