Hyderabad has been assessed as the world’s most dynamic city from amongst 130 cities across the globe. According to the seventh edition of the ‘City Momentum Index’ (CMI) published by JLL today, there are three more Indian cities that made it to the top ten – Bengaluru (2nd), Chennai (5th) and Delhi (6th). Pune, Kolkata and Mumbai made it to the top 20, and stood at the 12th16thand 20thpositions, respectively.
The JLL City Momentum Index identifies a number of key growth drivers, including talent attraction, the expansion of innovation hubs and better urban planning, that cities can employ to meet the challenges faced by rapid momentum.
This year, Asia Pacific is home to three-fourth of the world’s top 20 cities, which are the most dynamic urban centres in the world. The results show a continued shift in global influence from west to east, with Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese cities dominating the top positions. India – with seven cities in the top 20, the most of any country – leads the 2020 Index, despite the slowdown of the nation’s economy.
Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head – India, JLL, said, “India’s fastest-growing cities have been drawing a significant level of interest from overseas investors. We are starting to see the benefits of the government’s reforms on the infrastructure and policy front. Despite a slowing pace of economic growth, these reforms are bringing more market transparency, which boosts investment into real estate”.
“Commercial real estate in south Indian cities is growing at a rapid pace. Hyderabad has seen tremendous growth in 2019 in line with that of Bengaluru. The city has actively embraced technology-driven economic growth and attracted large tech giants and e-commerce players. The state government’s focus on business-friendly policies and provision of high-quality infrastructure along with the availability of quality talent pool and superior quality business parks have given Hyderabad a competitive edge.” Nair added.
Jeremy Kelly, Director of Cities Research at JLL, said, “The remarkable dynamism in the emerging Asian economies is proof that economic reforms, business growth and infrastructure investment can drive the expansion of industry, significantly in the tech sector, and facilitate a start-up culture. This is now being repeated the world over, as geographical diversity looks to be returning to the Index.”
Several cities in the top 20 stand out as they transform their urban environments in pursuit of a low-carbon future. In India, Hyderabad is looking at technology to reduce the demand for air conditioning with cool roofs that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat.
The Index shows the steps that cities can take to overcome some of the issues associated with rapid growth. Continued investment in infrastructure can unlock new locations, reduce congestion and improve air quality. Chinese cities continue to benefit from investment in metro lines, high-speed rail and increased airport capacity. The growth of “micro-mobility” is another positive step, illustrated by Hyderabad’s introduction of smart bikes and electric cars. Smart city solutions, such as bike rentals, improve quality of life, help increase inclusion and aid in the transition to a low carbon environment.
“One common ingredient when looking at cities that succeed at rapid-growth is the importance placed on governance and leadership – something often overlooked. The complex nature of city transformation relating to the innovation economy, climate mitigation and a changing geopolitical world means a city’s governance system is increasingly critical to a city being ‘future-fit’ for the coming decades,” concluded Kelly.
While Hyderabad and Bengaluru as the top two cities globally for socio-economic momentum, a more active real estate market helped elevate Hyderabad to the first position in the overall ranking. Hyderabad recorded the highest office net absorption in 2019 (as a proportion of existing stock) of any city globally, while it is also among the world’s best-performing cities for prime office rental growth.
While all seven major Indian cities feature in this year’s Global Top 20, cities in south India in particular – Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai (5th) – are ahead of their northern peers, supported by favourable demographics and business climates. Their expanding tech industries and start-up cultures make them a magnet for young and ambitious talent from across the country, with Bengaluru having one of the world’s largest concentrations of ‘engine room’ population (20-40-year-olds), typically the most dynamic and productive age cohort.