London, the most successful city of modern times, is the premier example of a global city. It demands attention, it’s inspiring and tolerant, chaotic and dynamic, at times frustrating but always hugely attractive and a global model of urban resilience.

Towards an urban future

It is estimated that around 3% of the earth’s surface is covered by cities (1). At the current rate of urbanisation this figure could treble by 2050 (2) with the need for 12 new cities the size of London every year to accommodate these new urbanites (3). Such predictions help frame the likely landscape of this new world of cities along with the challenges and competition they will face.

What makes a global city of the future?


To be competitive, all cities will need to deliver a level of connectivity, technology, innovation, quality, education, creativity, sustainability, accessibility and affordability. The expectation for the future global city is not only excellent performance in such aspects, but performance that influences and inspires the behaviour and strategy of others, alongside an eagerness to learn from those excelling in complementary areas. The global city goes well beyond being a mere concentration of specialist world class services, in the new terminology of competitiveness – it is a city that is ‘globally fluent’. (4)

London, as a Global City

London is frequently ranked in the top 10 of the more robust indices of competitiveness, especially for its economic strength, innovation and soft power (5).  Of crucial importance though in maintaining its global position, is London’s ability to absorb and leverage change; its confidence in stepping out of its comfort zone and in being an early adopter of opportunities in specialisms such as FinTech and AdTech.

Global Cities Research Centre

JLL’s Cities Research Center,  underpinned by 10 years of pioneering city research, brings together our firm-wide resources and expertise on cities around the world to help you identify new opportunities and to navigate through the New World of Cities.

Measuring success

London’s success at reaching into the future, capturing and channelling energy back into its economic present, is evident from its top ranking in the JLL City Momentum Index. This new measure of anticipating and providing for change allows it to be investment and location ready for the world’s business.

London’s Competiveness Context

In PWC’s Cities of Opportunity Report, London posts the highest score by a good margin. It finished first in measures of technology readiness, economic clout, and its role as city gateway, all of which underline its stature as a thriving centre of the world economy. Challenges inevitably accompany success. Pressure on infrastructure, housing and environmental quality is well acknowledged and innovative solutions are progressing.

A further challenge for London is the continuing change in the global geography of commerce. The city faces deep and growing competition from a cadre of newly ambitious cities in Asia, as well as from its traditional western competitors and its sister ‘super cities’ of Paris, New York and Tokyo, with Singapore and Hong Kong all growing in strength and importance. The cobwebs below compare London with other global cities on key indicators such as economic strength, real estate performance, momentum, risk and connectivity.

Finding solutions to pressures of growth

London is addressing international competition by further extending its successful global partnerships and building an international reputation for innovation and business friendliness. It is focused on preparing for a population of almost 10 million by 2025 (6) and on meeting any challenges in the city’s operation and image – essential to the success of any future global city.

London’s Future

Businesses across many diverse sectors flourish in London, taking full advantage of its talent pool, the ability to easily scale operations and the prestige that comes with operating from this world capital of business.