Despite the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit, London has earned the top spot in the 2021 ‘World’s Best Cities’ index for the fifth year running. Rose Dykins reports

London has been awarded the top spot of the “World’s Best Cities” for 2021 index, which identifies which cities are most desirable for locals, visitors and businesspeople alike – giving a holistic view of a city’s appeal and investment prospects.

Created by Resonance Consultancy – a leading advisor in tourism, real-estate and economic development – the index ranks metropolitan world cities (with populations greater than one million people) based on a combination of statistics and qualitative evaluations by locals and visitors.

This year, six core categories were assessed as part of the World’s Best Cities index. They were:

Place – a city’s physical sense of space.

Product – a city’s “hardware” (infrastructure, attractions and institutions).

People – the diversity and education-level a city’s human capital.

Prosperity – how economically secure the city’s citizens are.

Programming – a city’s “software” (experiences, culture, nightlife, dining and shopping).

Promotion – a city’s ability to “tell its story” (frequency of media coverage, references and place-based recommendations).

Hyde Park, LondonFor the 2021 edition of its World’s Best Cities Index, Resonance Consultancy incorporated data that reveals how each city has been impacted by the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us and our cities in ways none of us have ever experienced before,” says Chris Fair, president and CEO Resonance Consultancy. “To capture this reality in our rankings, we have also expanded and evolved. We have added three new factors to our ranking.

“For our Prosperity category, we have added the unemployment rate of a city (as of July 2020, the latest numbers available at press time) and the Gini Index of Income Inequality. In our Place category, we added the number of Covid-19 cases per million (as of July 31, 2020) for each city.”

According to Resonance the top ten World’s Best Cities for 2021 (out of 100) are:

1) London

2) New York

3) Paris

4) Moscow

5) Tokyo

6) Dubai

7) Singapore

8) Barcelona

9) Los Angeles

10) Madrid

Piccadilly Circus LondonLondon may feel like an unlikely first place candidate – and in certain categories, it didn’t perform well compared to its counterparts. The research highlights how the UK had the highest rate of excess Covid deaths in Europe and the uncertain terrain the UK will now negotiate in a post-Brexit world in 2021.

The city also fared badly in terms of income inequality: “Our new ranking subcategory, the Gini coefficient (which we refer to as Income Equality), shows the city’s alarming disparity between rich and not: London ranks 149th of 263 cities,” says Resonance Consulting.

However, London’s saving grace was its strong performance in the Programming category, which it ranked two for out of all the cities in the index.

“Perhaps one area that stretches across qualities like outdoor experiences, prosperity and nightlife in London is dining,” says Resonance. “The struggling restaurant industry has pivoted creatively, moving onto the streets, embracing the Eat Out to Help Out initiative.”

The 2021 World’s Best Cities index highlights the massive toll Covid-19 has taken on the world’s most populated cities and the immense challenge urban centres face to regain the experiential appeal that makes people choose city living.

If there’s one thing that social distancing has taught us, it’s that the shared spaces we were asked to close and avoid – from parks to restaurants to sporting venues, museums and galleries – are what we cherish most about the cities we live in or love to visit,” says Fair.

“We hope this report will inspire you to celebrate and rediscover these global urban centres when the time is right.”

Download the 2021 World’s Best Cities index in full here.

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