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The future of cities: creating a vision

The future of cities: creating a vision

Competition between cities is growing. This module examines how so-called second cities – major regional cities – can compete with bigger players to attract and retain residents over the long term.


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As the world becomes more connected, cities are competing ever more fiercely for residents who will help them prosper. 

Competition between cities is growing. With the advent of globalization, cities now vie for residents, investment, ideas and so on – not only from neighboring cities but from all around the globe. People, particularly young high achievers, are increasingly willing to move to find the best opportunities. If cities are to survive and prosper, it is therefore up them to attract these citizens by providing better prospects than those of the competition.

It is important to understand how cities behave in the modern world. Cities are like magnets, in that they can either attract or repel new residents, visitors and business investment. For a city to develop a strong magnetic pull, its leaders need to make conscious decisions about who, when and how they want to manage the migration of people, ideas and investment to and from the city. This can be achieved only if they have a clear vision, implemented by strong, inspiring leadership.

This module explains the central role of vision in the success of so-called second cities – major regional cities – identifying seven guiding principles to make cities more attractive. Examples are provided of various cities around the globe that are putting some of these principles into action.

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