Features

Published: Tuesday May 27, 2014 MYT 3:55:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 27, 2014 MYT 2:21:48 PM

'Average city': Kuala Lumpur ranks 17th out of 30 cities in global survey

A bit on the average side: The findings of an international survey 'Cities of Opportunity' rank the nation's capital at 17th place on a list of 30 cities, but with nothing special to shout about.

A bit on the average side: The findings of an international survey 'Cities of Opportunity' rank the nation's capital at 17th place on a list of 30 cities, but with nothing special to shout about.

In an international survey that looks at how key metropolises around the world measured up in terms of how successful, liveable and attractive they are, Kuala Lumpur came in 17th out of 30 cities – not bad, but not great either.

Unsurprisingly, as lovers of London will no doubt agree, the home of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Will and Kate, claimed the top spot in the survey’s overall rankings for the first time since it began in 2007.

Conducted annually by auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the survey – titled Cities of Opportunity – named Britain’s capital as the one to beat, citing the city’s combination of infrastructure, economic influence, and readiness to embrace technology as key factors that put it ahead of its closest competitors. 

London: The city by the River Thames has been ranked at the top of this year's Cities of Opportunity survey, a global survey of 30 cities around the world that rates their economy, infrastructure and liveability.

Those competitors include last year’s top-ranked city, New York, which dropped to 2nd place. Singapore made an impressive leap up the list, from last year’s 7th to 3rd, with the island state’s “transportation and infrastructure” and “ease of doing business” scoring highest. Paris however, lost a bit of love, as it dropped from 4th to 6th, but still leads the other cities in “intellectual capital and innovation”. 

Rise and fall: How the cities compare in the Cities of Opportunity 2014 survey, in descending order, compared with two previous rankings. The list of cities change slightly from year to year. KL was added to the survey's list of cities in 2012. 

 Ranking  2014 (Edition 6) 2012 (Edition 5)  2011 (Edition 4) 
 1  London  New York  New York
 2  New York  London  Toronto
 3  Singapore  Toronto  San Francisco 
 4  Toronto  Paris  Stockholm
 5  San Francisco  Stockholm  Sydney
 6  Paris  San Francisco   London
 7  Stockholm  Singapore  Chicago
 8  Hong Kong  Hong Kong  Paris
 9  Sydney  Chicago  Singapore
 10  Chicago  Tokyo  Hong Kong
 11  Berlin  Sydney  Houston
 12  Los Angeles  Berlin  Los Angeles
 13  Tokyo  Los Angeles  Berlin
 14  Seoul  Seoul  Tokyo
 15  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid
 16  Dubai  Milan  Seoul
 17  Kuala Lumpur   Beijing  Beijing
 18  Milan  Kuala Lumpur   Abu Dhabi
 19  Beijing  Shanghai  Shanghai
 20  Shanghai  Moscow  Mexico City
 21  Moscow  Mexico City  Moscow
 22  Mexico City  Abu Dhabi  Santiago
 23  Johannesburg  Buenos Aires  Istanbul
 24  Buenos Aires  Istanbul  Sao Paulo
 25  Istanbul  Johannesburg  Johannesburg
 26  Sao Paulo  Sao Paulo  Mumbai
 27  Rio de Janeiro  Mumbai  
 28  Mumbai    
 29  Jakarta    
 30  Nairobi    

According to PWC, the survey aims “to examine urban life in a way that can help our 30 cities (and through them, cities in general) to understand the patterns and pathways toward building healthy, prosperous communities.”

In the latest and sixth edition of the survey – published via PWC’s website on May 20 as a free PDF download – the team looked at the 30 cities on the list and checked their performance against 10 indicators that broadly cover the areas of technology and infrastructure, quality of life, and potential for creating economic wealth.

Although the survey’s scope has evolved since its first edition, PWC said that the set of criteria for selecting cities to the list – their importance as commercial hubs; their broad geographical distribution; and to represent both "mature" and "emerging" cities – remain unchanged since it started. Meanwhile, the scores are based on publicly available information, augmented by the survey team’s own research.

This year’s list of 30 is the longest yet, more than double the survey’s initial list of 11 in 2007. Three new cities added to the list this year are Jakarta, Nairobi and World Cup host Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi was dropped and replaced with Dubai. Kuala Lumpur was added to the list in 2012.

KL’s average scores

While it’s good news that the nation’s beloved capital moved up the overall rankings – from last year’s 18th to 17th – and even outperformed other well-established urban hubs like Beijing, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro, KL’s report card reveals it as an average city at best.

KL scored mostly average points on almost every indicator in the survey, only managing the highest ranking of 8th for “cost” (which measures a city’s standard of living). Most worrying is KL’s ranking for “sustainability and the natural environment” – the city placed a dismal 27th. Two other indicators where KL came in the bottom ten are “intellectual and capital innovation” and “health, safety and security”.

Average city: How KL ranks in the Cities of Opportunity 2014 survey, in the list of 30 cities, according to survey indicators. (Highest is 1, lowest is 30.)

 Survey indicators  KL's ranking 
 Intellectual and capital innovation   22
 Technology readiness  15
 City gateway  11
 Transportation and infrastructure  12
 Health, safety and security  20
 Sustainability and the natural environment   27
 Demographics and liveability  18
 Economic clout  19
 Ease of doing business  11
 Cost  8

Top cities: Cities that rank highest in the Cities of Opportunity 2014 survey, according to survey indicators.

 Survey indicators 1st 2nd   3rd
 Intellectual and capital innovation  Paris  London   San Francisco 
 Technology readiness  London, Seoul  Stockholm   Hong Kong
 City gateway  London  Beijing  Singapore
 Transportation and infrastructure  Singapore  Toronto  Seoul
 Health, safety and security  Stockholm  Toronto  Berlin
 Sustainability and the natural  environment   Stockholm, Sydney   Berlin, Paris   San Francisco
 Demographics and liveability  Sydney  London  San Francisco
 Economic clout  London  Beijing   New York
 Ease of doing business  Singapore  Hong Kong  New York
 Cost  Los Angeles  Chicago  Johannesburg 

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Features, Kuala Lumpur, global survey, Cities of Opportunity, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, average, London, Singapore, Paris, Sydney

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