|London tops global list of Open Cities|
17/01/2011 16:22 (855 Day 16:41 minutes ago)
The FINANCIAL -- London has topped a survey looking at the capacity of cities around the world to attract and benefit from international populations. The British Council’s OPENCities project compares 26 cities worldwide, looking at factors including diversity policies, quality of life and education.
New York takes second place, followed by Toronto, Dublin and Los Angeles. Two other UK cities are in the top ten: Edinburgh (8th) and Manchester (10th). Nottingham is 12th, Newcastle 14th, Cardiff 15th and Belfast 16th.
For the OPENCities project, the British Council has worked in collaboration with the European Commission, city authorities and various institutions, as part of its mission to build relationships for the UK and spark debate on major global issues such as international mobility.
London achieved the top spot thanks to a number of factors, including the level of foreign investment in the capital, the quality of education, and numbers of international students studying in the city, according to British Council.
The 26 cities signed up to the project in order to measure their ‘openness’ for the first time, and use these valuable insights to become more competitive, enhance their economic growth and increase the quality of life for their citizens. The cities will also be able to use OPENCities as a kite-mark and a public statement that they believe in and are willing to work towards openness. It is hoped that more than 100 cities will be involved in the project by 2012.
Professor Mike Hardy CMG OBE, Head of Partnerships at the British Council, said: “All cities strive to be successful in a transforming global political economy, and each struggles with addressing the challenges they face. One identified success criterion, recognised by all, is the ability to attract talented and skilled people, and to build the balanced and cohesive human resources needed for the contemporary economy. That success must be combined with a capability for diverse communities to live together in some sense of safety and security”
“Openness is a real advantage for cities if they are pursuing plans to be internationally connected and play international roles. Whilst some of the factors influencing openness are beyond the direct control of cities, many of these factors are well within the control or immediate influence of city governments: the city’s identity and character; its education, housing and cultural offer; the kind of local democracy it practices and the forms of participation it encourages.”
Until now openness has not been observed or measured directly because it is a multi-dimensional and very complex phenomenon. However, there are many aspects of openness that can be observed and measured. That is why the OPENCities Monitor was devised to include 54 internationally comparable indicators. They were grouped into 11 areas such as international flows, barriers of entry, diversity actions, international events and education.
Data was collated for the 26 cities using the most up-to-date and internationally recognised private and public, national and local data-sets. The enormous volume of information collected and analysed is now available to everyone, presented in a clear, user-friendly and understandable way. Users can generate a snapshot city profile showing how the city performs in each of the 11 areas of openness in comparison with all the other cities or any group of them selected according to a given indicator. City leaders, policy makers, journalists or anyone interested can check in just a few clicks how welcoming, for example, their city is to foreign populations or for hosting international events.
Developed as a learning tool, the OPENCities Monitor also offers practical examples, hundreds of case studies and ideas that are successful and can easily be adapted and applied. Users can find the case studies related to their search just by clicking on the corresponding areas of the graphs generated by the tool. The OPENCities Monitor also provides policy recommendations and outlines learning points for the three policy themes: internationalisation, leadership & governance and managing diversity.