Jobs, cost 'key to a city's attractiveness'
Dubai, January 27, 2011
Jobs and cost of living -- not culture and environment -- matter most for a city's attractiveness, says a new research.
Urban policymakers must not lose sight of the basics of liveability - transport, roads, schools and safety - as they seek to boost their city's economic growth, said the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Expanding green space and cultural attractions are contributors to long-term liveability (although securing major sporting events such as the Olympics may be a distraction), but for city residents, would-be migrants and investors, job creation and costs currently trump all other factors, said the report “Liveanomics: Urban liveability and economic growth, which was commissioned by Philips.
The report is based on a global survey of urban professionals, as well as interviews with civic and business leaders and other experts.
A key finding of the survey is that jobs are the primary driver in that group's decision to relocate to a city, rather than factors such as family, education or culture. Of the survey respondents who moved to their current city, nearly 90 per cent did so either because they were looking for better job opportunities or because their employer asked them to relocate.
When asked to nominate the most important factors in making a city an attractive place in which to live and work, respondents name jobs and cost of living ahead of others.
The findings appear to run counter to some recent thinking on urban policy, which says that making a city more appealing for people to live in—by investing in cultural facilities or sporting events, for example—will help to attract highly-prized skilled workers and knowledge-intensive industries, the report said.
The report argues that what business primarily wants from good city leadership is policy that helps to stimulate job creation, but points out that basic liveability factors—such as transport infrastructure, housing and educational facilities—are also key areas on which urban policy should focus.
More than 60 per cent of respondents identify improvements to transport as one of the top three priorities for their city leaders in order to make their cities more competitive for business, along with improving schools (33 per cent), encouraging multinational companies to invest (32 per cent) and improving safety and security (29 per cent). By contrast, only 11 per cent of respondents feel that their civic leaders should prioritise attracting major sporting or cultural events.
Iain Scott, the report's editor, said: 'The idea of improving liveability as a route to economic growth has become popular among city leaders in recent years. But our research shows they need to be realistic about how many jobs they can hope to create through improvements to liveability. While improving a city's liveability is an important goal, its value as an economic development strategy depends greatly on prevailing circumstances.' – TradeArabia News Service