Welcome to London, World's Most Open City

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 1/18/2011 12:07:00 AM
And now for a news flash from the clash of metropolises. Here's a consolation prize of sorts for London after receiving a beating during the "selection" process for the 2018 World Cup: a study commissioned by the British Council and the European Commission finds that, based on a range of criteria, London is the world's most open city. (Utterly unsurprising fact of the day for FIFA: 2022 World Cup host Doha, Qatar doesn't appear on the list of the top 25. Qataris make up for it by having bags of money to throw at soccer federations, but more on this later.) The full report isn't out just yet, so in the meantime, here's the Evening Standard:
London is the world's most “open” city because of its welcoming attitude to foreigners and liberal immigration policies, according to a new league table. The capital beat New York, Los Angeles, Dusseldorf and Toronto in an assessment by the British Council of cities' ability to attract and benefit from international populations.

Among the 54 factors considered were the ease of firms to hire foreign labour, entry into the relevant country, the rights given to migrants and their ability to bring in family members. The number of overseas students and international schools were also assessed, as were policies to help the integration of new arrivals and public attitudes to migration. The “quality of living” — including crime levels and standard of medical services — was a further key element, along with measures such as unemployment, taxation and rents.

London's success is certain to be welcomed by business leaders and will intensify debate about the Government's bid to restrict immigration through a cap on arrivals from outside the EU. Mayor Boris Johnson, the business organisation London First and university chiefs have all expressed concern that the proposals could hinder the ability to attract talent. Ministers insist the rules, which are still being drawn up, will be flexible enough to ensure recruitment of highly skilled migrants...

Professor Mike Hardy, the head of partnerships at the council, said: “Openness is a real advantage for cities if they are pursuing plans to be internationally connected and play international roles...[A]ll cities strive to be successful in a transforming global political economy. One identified success criteria, recognised by all, is the ability to attract talented and skilled people, and to build the balanced and cohesive human resources needed for the contemporary economy.”

Professor Hardy said the ability of “diverse communities to live together in some sense of safety and security” was also important. He added: “While some of the factors influencing openness are beyond the direct control of cities, many of these factors are well within the control or immediate influence of city governments: the city's identity and character; its education, housing and cultural offer; the kind of local democracy it practices and the forms of participation it encourages.”
And here are the world's top 25. Notably absent are any French towns and Tokyo--Japan isn't yet the most welcoming place to foreigners, I guess. Sydney is notable in its absence as well...

1 London
2 New York
3 Toronto
4 Dublin
5 Los Angeles
6 Vienna
7 Auckland
8 Edinburgh
9 Madrid
10 Manchester
11 Barcelona
12 Nottingham
13 Dusseldorf
14 Newcastle
15 Cardiff
16 Belfast
17 Buenos Aires
18 Bilbao
19 Sao Paulo
20 Beijing
21 Nitra
22 Poznan
23 Bucharest
24 Cape Town
25 Sofia

So, not only does London do New York one better in being the world's financial centre, but also in terms of being more open. I suspect both findings are related. Despite everything, the capital still thrives so many years after the sun supposedly set on the British Empire.