South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, has made the list of the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies Global Power Cities Index, ranking among the 44 most powerful cities in the world.
Joburg ranked 44th out of the 44 cities covered, holding the same position (last) as the 2016 ranking where it made its debut. Joburg ranked just below its fellow African city, Cairo (Egypt), which ranked 43rd. They are the only two African cities ranked.
According to the foundation, the index is used all over the world as reference material for urban policies and business strategies, taking into account both quantitative data from published reports, and qualitative data from surveys.
The power cities index is determined by looking at various indicators in six broad categories, including the economy, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, environment, and accessibility. The index also factors in ‘actor assessments’ – looking at perceptions of each city from the viewpoint of five ‘actor groups’, like managers, artists, researchers, visitors and residents.
Despite its last-place ranking, Johannesburg only ranks last in the livability and accessibility categories. It ranked in the bottom five in the economy (41st) category, as well as the R&D (43rd) category, but ranked relatively high in the environment category (35th).
In the actor-specific rankings, Joburg is ranks in the bottom ten for all groups, but ranks highest for artists (39th), followed by managers (42nd) and visitors (43rd). The city ranks last for researchers and residents (44th).
While Joburg ranks at the bottom of the index and across many categories, its inclusion on the index is recognition of the city’s growing status as a power city in the global environment.
Top global power cities
Reflecting the same trend since the index launched in 2008, the top 5 power cities have remained fairly stable without much change among them.
London was ranked as the most powerful city in the world, having taken the top spot from New York in 2012, and kept its number one spot. New York has remained number two, since.
Tokyo climbed to third place in the 2016 ranking, a position it has retained, after being number four since the index’s debut. Paris slipped to fourth, after maintaining its third place spot until 2015.
After climbing to fifth position in 2009, Singapore has remained there ever since, with the former number five – Vienna – slipping all the way down to 14th in 2017, after a rocky performance on the ranking over the last decade.
In the broad categories, New York ranks as having the best economy and highest levels of R&D, while London takes the cultural award. German cities, Berlin and Frankfurt take the crown for livability and environment, respectively, while Paris scored top in accessibility.
Among the actors, London was ranked as the best place for managers and visitors; Paris was rated top for artists and residents; and New York was found to be the top city for researchers.