Solving Cities

Top 10 most dynamic cities of the future

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Which cities will have the biggest impact on the global economy in 2025?

With 690 million people -- or half of China's population -- now living China's cities, the country is at the cutting edge of urban studies. Today, Foreign Policy dove deep into the issue of China's urbanization in its newly released Cities Issue with stories ranging from China's urban innovations to mistakes Chinese cities are making as they quickly rise to global prominence.

But urbanization on a large scale isn't just a phenomenon in China. All across the globe cities are playing an incredibly important role in the global economy. As Foreign Policy simply put it: "[W]e are witnessing the biggest economic transformation the world has ever seen as the populations of cities in emerging markets expand and see their incomes rise as never before, producing massive geopolitical shifts and a wave of new consumers whose spending power will change the way the world shops and invests."

All signs are pointing to the continuation of this trend in the decades to come. So Foreign Policy set out to determine which cities will make the "greatest contribution to the global economy" in the future. Using McKinsey Global Institute's Cityscope database of 2,650 cities, the magazine ranked the top 75 "most dynamic cities of 2025," with some of the usual suspects and some cities you haven't heard of (yet). Here's the (Chinese-dominated) top 10:

  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Tianjin
  4. São Paulo
  5. Guangzhou
  6. Shenzhen
  7. New York
  8. Chongqing
  9. Moscow
  10. Tokyo

New York is the only U.S. city to make the top 10 but others are on the complete list of 75 global cities, including Los Angeles (12th), Houston (22nd), Dallas (23rd), Washington, D.C. (25th), Chicago (38th), Miami (44th), Atlanta (48th), Phoenix (54th), San Francisco (57th), San Diego (70th), Philadelphia (71st), and Seattle (74th). Only two other North American cities made the list: Mexico City (28th) and Toronto (52nd).

If projections turn to reality, these cities along with a total of 29 Chinese cities and the other cities that madethe top 75 will contribute 30 percent of GDP growth between now and 2025. But much of that will be thanks to Chinese cities and other rising cities from the developing world.

If you're not already familiar with the cities on this list, now would be a good time to start.

Photo: Flickr/Keith Marshall

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure