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The Competitiveness of Cities: World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness

JAA President Kevin Murphy served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness from 2010 through 2016. Mr. Murphy co-authored the Council’s The Competitiveness of Cities Report. The Report provides the preeminent taxonomy of drivers of city competitiveness globally. It details numerous case studies from cities of varying geographies and levels of development on issues of sustainability and economic growth, helping city leaders learn from global best practices and innovative policies.

The Report identifies six megatrends affecting cities globally: urbanization, rising inequality, sustainability challenges, technological change, industrial clusters, and governance. Cities’ abilities to respond to these megatrends depend on their institutions, polices and regulations, hard connectivity (infrastructure and logistics), and soft connectivity (education and culture). The Report includes a checklist for how city leaders can address these key pillars to become more competitive. The Report particularly emphasizes reforms that address multiple trends. For example, it discusses how urban density can be used to decrease environmental impact while also creating more affordable housing and a more vibrant urban culture.

Using thirty-three case studies, the Report shows how urban sustainability, equality, and competitiveness are complementary objectives. One case study, for example, highlights the reinvention of Nantes, France, where green investments in sustainable transport and public spaces earned the city the 2013 European Green Capital Award while also increasing tourism and attracting new residents. In Medellin, Colombia, investment an innovative form of sustainable transport – the Metrocable gondola system – connected low-income communities with new employment opportunities, thus combining economic growth with social inclusiveness and energy-efficient transportation.

The Report can be found on our Resources page and on the World Economic Forum’s website:

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