A recently published report produced by JLL on how traditional city hierarchies are being disrupted by globalisation and competition has classed Lagos as an Emerging World City. The report compares the performance of 660 cities worldwide, explaining that urban age is no longer about competitive hierarchy, command, or control; especially as data collated since the Global Financial Crisis shows that there is no clear correlation between a city’s economic size and its growth capacity.
JLL, in partnership with The Business of Cities argue that the ability for more cities to ‘go global’ and excel in their own niches is fundamentally changing the geography of commercial property and has deep implications for real estate formats, assets and opportunities.
The broad types of globalising cities were classified using various parameters including quality of life, status as a knowledge hub and presence of a port or large airport among many others.
The findings from their research show a New World of Cities where cities are now classified accordingly:
- Established World Cities: highly globalised and competitive metropolitan economies with the deepest and most settled concentration of firms, capital and talent.
- Emerging World Cities: business and political capitals of large or medium-sized emerging economies that function as gateways for international firms, trade and investment.
- New World Cities: small or medium-sized cities that have an attractive infrastructure and liveability platform and deliberately specialise in a limited number of global markets. This new breed of highly globally-oriented city is neither ‘established’ nor ‘emerging’ but a product of the current cycle of globalisation.
Though African cities including Kenya and Lagos were regarded as Emerging World Cities, they were also described as Lagging Megacities that are not performing at full capacity because they struggle to cope with the pace of population growth, fragmented governance and a lack of inward investment.
As an Emerging World City, Lagos is often a gateway for international firms, trade and investment into West Africa or Sub Sahara Africa (ex SA). The city is looking to attract catalytic foreign capital and promote the growth of indigenous industries and services to support its rapid urbanisation. Traffic gridlock, crime, flooding among others are consistent challenges faced in the city. Nonetheless, there has been aggressive commercial real estate investment in the retail and office sectors alike. Real estate is expected to play a key role in creating a ‘sense of place’ and contributing to city identity and well-being. This is necessary not only to attract new investment but to also improve the business operating environment and quality of life of the residents.
Similarly classed cities like Shanghai, Mexico City and Istanbul are witnessing massive expansion of their real estate inventory through the construction of impressive mixed-use schemes and trophy developments, which are seen as the hallmark of a modern city.
Some of the key imperatives for Emerging World Cities moving forward centre around management of population growth, prompt provision of attractive entry-level housing, addressing widespread income disparity, more rational land use, tacking infrastructure deficits and providing sufficient support to emerging sectors.
Access the report on the ei Research Report centre.