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Shanghai is the world's 26th most attractive major city, new study says

But what does that even mean?

Photograph: zhang kaiyv via Unsplash
Some smart people who care a lot about urban planning, data and comparing the world's metropolises have been ranking cities for the last ten years based on a variety of factors, with an aim to measure a city's 'comprehensive power to attract people'. They must be great fun at parties...

The Global Power City Index (GPCI), an initiative of Japan's Mori Memorial Foundation's Institute for Urban Strategies, researches and scores six different 'functions' to create its rather thorough ranking system. This year it has placed Shanghai at number 26 among 44 of the world's most attractive cities. Sure, we dropped eleven places from last year's ranking and are also three spots behind Beijing (boo, hiss boo), but we guess we'll take it...

But what does it all really mean? And how do they do it? Firstly, the researchers gathered data on 44 major cities of the world. Then, using 70 different indicators, they ranked those cities based on average indicators, then indicator groups and overall function until a comprehensive list of averaged rankings was assembled. Does that make little sense? See below for our handy PowerPoint art that explains just a handful of these criteria.


Once the cities were scored according to these indicators, and all the numbers totted up, the final 2018 list was compiled and published earlier this month. And the award for World's Most Attractive City goes to... London – again. The UK capital came first in the 'cultural interaction' category, second in 'economy' and 'accessibility', and third for 'research and development', placements that contributed towards it nailing down its overall ranking at the top of the tree for the seventh year in a row. It did come 11th in 'livability' and 19th in 'environment', though – you can't have it all, eh?

Shanghai's eleven-place drop from 15 to 26 is due to GPCI's inclusion of more indicators for 2018, namely 'new working styles, the rise of startups, and global environmental issues'. A lot of Shanghai's fall from 15th-placed grace is to do with 'Economy' function, with indicators such as 'variety of workplace options' coming in at 44th – the bottom of the lot. Shanghai also came in 43rd position for 'Environment' with just Beijing finishing below us. We did rank fourth in 'Accessibility', though, mainly due to the city's seemingly never-ending metro expansions and obsession with building more types of train.

Photograph: Luca Micheli via Unsplash (London)

Finally, the top ten cities are:

1 London
2 New York
3 Tokyo
4 Paris
5 Singapore
6 Amsterdam
7 Seoul
8 Berlin
9 Hong Kong
10 Sydney

And the bottom ten:

34 Istanbul
35 Taipei
36 Bangkok
37 Fukuoka
38 Buenos Aires
39 Mexico City
40 Sao Paulo
41 Jakarta
42 Johannesburg
43 Mumbai
44 Cairo

So, if you didn't already know it, now you know that London has the world's most comprehensive power to attract you. And Cairo doesn't...

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