Despite the west’s experience of managing the process of urbanisation, it doesn’t have all the answers
The Independent Voices
New York will continue to be the world’s largest urban economy in 2035, but Jakarta will have passed Tokyo to become the most populous city. However, cities in the Indian subcontinent, led by Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Dhaka, will be the fastest-growing. Those are three of the conclusions from a study by Oxford Economics of the way the economies of global cities will develop over the next couple of decades.
The development of megacities, cities with a population of more than 10 million, has become a source of endless analysis and concern. From a UK perspective, it is intriguing to see London is projected to remain the fourth largest urban agglomeration ranked by GDP – after New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles, though by then it will be joint fourth alongside Shanghai. In terms of financial and business services output, London is projected to rise to third place, after New York and Los Angeles, and pull ahead of Tokyo and Paris.
But changes in the pecking order of developed world cities are slight when set against the rise of the emerging world. Thus, of the top ten cities – or rather urban areas, as defined by the US metropolitan statistical area yardstick – four are expected to be in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
As a business centre, Guangzhou trails Chicago and Washington but leads San Francisco and Boston. In terms of total GDP, Jakarta will be number eight, rising from 21 this year. And in terms of growth, of the top 20 fastest-growing urban areas, 17 are in India.
Guangzhou is set to outpace San Francisco and Boston ( Getty/iStock )