Edinburgh and Glasgow jump up ranking of world's 500 most resilient cities

Locations were judged using metrics around four core areas, including knowledge economy and technology, and property investment.

Edinburgh and Glasgow have jumped up a global ranking of “resilient cities” with Scotland’s two largest centres of population punching well above their weight.

According to Savills latest Resilient Cities Index, Edinburgh and Glasgow are placed 36th and 45th respectively out of a list of 490 cities worldwide. While London remained the top ranked city in Europe, and third overall behind New York and Tokyo, both Scottish cities have gained some ground over the past couple of years - Glasgow moving up the list by 12 places and Edinburgh by nine since 2021.

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Cities in the index were judged using metrics around four core areas - economic strength, knowledge economy and technology, ESG (environmental, social and governance), and property investment. In turn, that supports the wellbeing and success of their residents and workers against the backdrop of economic, social, environmental and technological change, according to the global property consultancy.

Edinburgh, above, has moved up nine places since 2021, while Glasgow has gained 12 places in the Savills Resilient Cities Index.Edinburgh, above, has moved up nine places since 2021, while Glasgow has gained 12 places in the Savills Resilient Cities Index.
Edinburgh, above, has moved up nine places since 2021, while Glasgow has gained 12 places in the Savills Resilient Cities Index.

Although North American cities continue to dominate the latest index, taking five of the top ten spots, Savills said it had seen smaller cities - those with a population of under two million - perform well. While appearing further down the rankings, strong environmental credentials, ambitious climate targets and good governance and inclusivity have boosted cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Nick Penny, head of Savills Scotland, said: “What’s clear from the index is that Scotland punches well above its weight on a global stage. Despite their size, both cities continue to attract significant international investment, with overseas money accounting for almost 46 per cent of all Scottish transactions in 2023. From an ESG perspective, Scotland’s ambitious net zero targets has seen Glasgow implement its low emission zone, along with other key initiatives to boost its environmental credentials. This, alongside two world renowned universities, has undoubtedly played a role in both cities’ ongoing resilience.”

New York, Tokyo, London, Seoul, and Los Angeles were ranked as the world’s top five cities in the latest index. Some Asian and European cities gained ground, notably Tokyo (rising to second place), Seoul (now fourth), Singapore (sixth) and Paris (seventh). Toronto, Melbourne and Helsinki have risen by 16, 13 and 12 places respectively to make the top 20 this year.

Paul Tostevin, head of Savills world research, said: “In 2021, world cities were still feeling the effects of the pandemic, including Covid restrictions, but we were just beginning to see a broader return to the city. The backdrop to the latest index is a challenging economic environment, limited real estate transactions, but global travel and migration back in full flow and ESG factors more important than ever. As a result, it’s clear that this year, mature, established cities in developed economies with security of title and good governance dominate the top of the rankings.”

Rasheed Hassan, head of global cross border investment at Savills, added: “There remains a strong correlation between economic fundamentals and overall resilience; in turn real estate investors are still focused on the bigger cities. We expect another challenging year in economic terms, but an inflection in the prospects of many cities in 2024 as funding environments improve.”



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