Ref: GS-Political-powerful-cities


Powerful cities

The UN estimates that by 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in cities. Humans will truly be urbanized, clustered into powerhouses of economic output. Cities will become focal points of transportation, trade and finance, culture and social change, and their leaders will be more important than national politicians, tackling global as well as local issues.

“If the 19th century was defined by empires and the 20th century by nation-states, the 21st century belongs to cities,” jointly declared the Mayors of Paris and London in 2016. Many believe that cities will be the focal point for governance and defining the future world order, rather than nation states. Cities have emerged as important hubs for trade and finance, culture and entertainment. Many are strategically located for transport links for shipping and hub airports. Politically, city leaders govern large swathes of a country’s population. City leaders are now tackling issues previously the domain of national governments, such as climate change, pollution and transport issues, technological connectivity, and security in the face of terrorist threats. For businesses, cities will offer opportunities not just at the business and consumer level but also the political and legislative level, as city leaders protect the interests of their populations.

Did you know?

Cities are classed into three types: global hubs such as New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, where much of the world’s wealth and talent is concentrated; mega- cities such as São Paulo, Lagos and Mumbai, which are hugely populous and magnets both within their countries and often regions; and, gateway cities such as Cape Town, Dubai, Almaty and Kuala Lumpur, fast growing cities that act as gateways to frontier markets and the opportunities that lay there.

"68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN." United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 16 May 2018. (accessed 19 December 2018). P. Khanna. "When cities rule the world." McKinsey & Company, February 2011. cities-rule-the-world (accessed 19 December 2018).


In a rapidly changing global environment, how do we keep track and make sense of the different events and trends around us?  What are the missed opportunities we could have known about?

At IMD we believe these are crucial questions that business leaders need to be asking themselves.  “IMD Global Signals™” help you explore the various trends (signals) happening in the world. The signals are regularly updated to reflect the changing times.