Global Power City Index - 2009
The first Japan-based comprehensive ranking
survey of the major world cities



Under severe global competition among cities, the Global Power City Index evaluates and ranks the "Comprehensive Power" of the major cities in the world with a very unique method developed by the Institute for Urban Strategies at the Mori Memorial Foundation. There is an assumption that the integration of variety of powers that attract creative people and companies from all over the world is the "Comprehensive Power of a city."

Global Power City Index is the first ranking survey for international cities undertaken in Japan. 35 major cities in the world are selected and evaluated based on 69 indicators of city function in six main functions representing city strength such as "Economy," "Research & Development," "Cultural Interaction," "Livability," "Ecology & Natural Environment," and "Accessibility." Furthermore, evaluation is carried out from the view points of four global actors who are leading the urban activities in their cities such as "Managers," "Researchers," "Artists," and "Visitors" and one local actor, "Residents." A matrix composing city actors and city function indicators is created and the evaluation is carried out in multiple methods. This research is very unique in the world that evaluates cities from both subjective and objective perspectives, based on city functions and city actors.

This research is carried out with the involvement of academics such as Sir Perter Hall, a global authority in city planning, as well as Dr. Richard Bender, Dr. Saskia Sassen, and other renowned international scholars. Peer review by third parties are carried out as well to maintain the fairness of the ranking.

GPCI-2009 Comprehensive Ranking Top5

  • New York

  • London

  • Paris

  • Tokyo

  • Singapore



Function-specific Comprehensive Ranking

Function-specific Comprehensive Ranking (GPCI-2009)

New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo rank as the top four, the same as in the 2008 survey.
Although Singapore is ranked 5th, the difference between 4th and 5th is large; the top four cities are a group with a strong presence.

Function-specific Ranking

Function-specific Ranking (GPCI-2009)

New York and London are ranked remarkably high in the functions except for Livability and Environment, whereas Paris ranks top in Livability and Accessibility with other functions also high.
Tokyo ranks high in Economy (2nd) and Environment (4th). There is no other city ranked in the top 5 in terms of both the Economy and Environment functions like Tokyo. Tokyo is thus an economically strong yet environment-friendly city. The addition of the new Environment function in GPCI-2009 has revealed a new strength of Tokyo.

Actor-specific Ranking

Actor-specific Ranking (GPCI-2009)

The top four cities in the Comprehensive ranking are generally evaluated high by the four global actors leading urban activities as well as by the Residents.
Tokyo is ranked lower in the Manager ranking and the Visitor ranking among the top four cities.
Asian cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong are ranked high in the Manager ranking and the Visitor ranking, but are not in the top group in the Comprehensive ranking.
Many of the European cities are ranked high by Artist and Resident actors.

Comparison of Top Four Cities (New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo)

Deviation Analysis for Top 4 Cities (Function)

New York and London are respectively weak in Livability and Environment, but their other functions are strong enough to compensate for such weakness.
Paris and Tokyo both score above average in all functions, showing their overall strength as "All-round cities."
Tokyo is strong in Economy and Research & Development, as well as in Environment. Especially, the Environment score is the top among the top four cities showing its uniqueness as an economically strong yet environment-friendly city.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Tokyo

The very feature of GPCI is that the strength and weakness of each city appear on the process of the creation of the ranking.
The strongest indicators of Tokyo which are superior to other 35 cities are Accumulation of the Top 300 Companies in the Economy function, and Number of Researchers and R&D Expenditure in the Research && Development function.
On the other hand, the weakest indicator of Tokyo is Travel Time between Inner City to the International Airport, and the Corporate Tax Rate.
Unless these weak indicators are improved, Tokyo will never become a top-three city.

Methodology - Function-specific Ranking

Elements to evaluate each function of city are listed up on the right. 69 Indicators to mathematically evaluate each element are formulated to the left.

Flow of Creating Function-based Ranking

69 Indicators are referenced and customized from the statistical data issued from worldwide authorities, created based on the questionnaire survey conducted by the Mori Memorial Foundation, and produced by the own research by the Mori Memorial Foundation.

Sum of each score gained from each indicator are assembled in each function and finally become the total score of the city.

Methodology - Actor-specific Ranking

Flow of Creating the Actor-specific Ranking


(51, M)
  • Expat of a global financial corporation
  • Accompanying wife and two children
  • Offered a position as a managing director in Asian brunches
  • Candidate cities are Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore


(31, M)
  • Ph.D. candidate as a foreign student
  • Married with a classmate in the same program last year
  • Need to make a decision soon which organization in which country to do research after graduation


(24, F)
  • Single, born in Germany, grew up in Tokyo
  • Graduate student in modern art and decided to become a professional artist after graduation
  • Considering which city is the best for pursuing creative activities


(28, F)
  • Office employee for a Japanese company
  • Income has raised as promoting her career
  • Traveling abroad for several times every year
  • Planning the next travel for the coming summer vacation


(36, M)
  • Born and grew up in his home city
  • Employed in a company based in his home city
  • Married with a class mate from the same city and has a 2 year old son
  • Pondering whether to move out when purchasing a home


  • This offer must be an important turning point in his career. Which city should he chose under several choices?
  • - To develop a successful career, the better would be the more business opportunity. The scale and growth of business should be taken into account.
  • - Smooth transaction under reasonable restriction should be important for ease in business.
  • - As a managing director, many local staffs should be hired. Availability of excellent human resources and business partners is important.
  • - Accompanying family, living environment such as security, pollution, education, and community should be considered.


  • He wishes to develop his career as a researcher. Where should he base to deepen his specialty under an ideal environment?
  • - To dig his major deeper, it would be ideal to be in a prominent institution with famous professors and rich facility. Quality of institutions, researchers, and directors must be the most important.
  • - Opportunity in obtaining information of other researches through symposiums or academic network would motivate his research.
  • - Research grant and housing support would help him concentrate in his research. Alternatives in open careers is also important.
  • - His wife also wishes to continue research so that academic and living environment are both need to be checked.


  • What is needed for her to be acknowledged as an artist? What kind of environment would be ideal for her to become professional?
  • - First she need is a studio. It is important to rent certain space with reasonable price for her production.
  • - Cultural stimulus from the environment and other artists is a critical factor in pursuing art.
  • - Exhibition spaces such as galleries and museums have to be abundant for her exposure as an artist.
  • - She has to sell her products to live as an artist. Mature market with collectors and curators would be critical. She could be supported by a patron if her work is highly evaluated.


  • She is planning a long vacation so that she wishes to carefully select the most valuable place from many alternatives. Where should she travel?
  • - She wants to forget her daily life being exposed in a environment with good ambience in a secure place.
  • - Popular tourism destinations such as world heritages are critical factors.
  • - Choice of accommodation in variety of ranks is also important.
  • - Dining is also one of the pleasures of travel. Good. restaurants have to be listed.
  • - Final item is shopping. Souvenirs those cannot get in Japan are precious.


  • He has lived in his home city with no doubt however, started wondering if this should last forever. What is important for him and his family in their life?
  • - Most important is the general prices and living environment.
  • - Steady job or its opportunity with a reasonable income is necessary in living.
  • - Education is also important thinking about the future of his son.
  • - Enjoying holidays with family under variety of leisure activities should enrich their life.
  • - Daily life in a safe and easing society with low rate of crime and high level of welfare would be ideal

Profiles of each Actor are assumed and agendas in evaluating cities
from the standing point of those Actors are considered.


  1. Accumulation of enterprises & business deals at or above a given level
  2. Potential of business growth
  3. Ease of business (incl. regulations and taxes)
  4. Business surroundings
  5. Availability of human resources
  6. Accumulation of business support industry
  7. Favorable environment for business and for employee’s families
  8. Politics, Economy, Disaster risk


  1. Quality of research institutions, researchers and directors
  2. Accumulation of research institutes & researchers
  3. Existence of opportunities and venues that stimulate research activity
  4. Readiness to accept researchers (research funding, support with living expenses, etc.)
  5. Potential after graduation (job, etc.)
  6. Living environment


  1. Cultural stimulus
  2. Concentration of artists
  3. Art markets
  4. Environment (studio space, etc.) for Creative Activities
  5. Living environment (ease of living)


  1. Cultural appeal and opportunities for interaction
  2. Public safety
  3. Tourist Destinations
  4. Accommodations at or exceeding a certain level
  5. Dining options, cost, etc.
  6. Shopping environment, cost, appeal, etc.
  7. Mobility (time to destination, fares, etc.)


  1. Economic environment (prices, ease of purchasing etc.)
  2. Living environment (dwelling environment etc.)
  3. Work environment (income, job opportunities)
  4. Educational environment
  5. Leisure activities
  6. Safety and security
  7. Healthcare standard

Key elements for each Actor are extracted from the agendas and listed below.
Specific indicators to evaluate each Actor’ s score are selected from
the 69 indicators in the matrix with 33 Key elements and summed up as Actor-based score.

MANAGERS SCORE 47 Indicators in the Matrix

RESEARCHERS SCORE 25 Indicators in the Matrix

ARTISTS SCORE 25 Indicators in the Matrix

VISITORS SCORE 25 Indicators in the Matrix

RESIDENTS SCORE 39 Indicators in the Matrix

Analysis of the Global Circuit

The other important finding of the GPCI research is how these global cities interact with each other in their industrial relationships, such as dependency, competition and complementarity.

Extensive analysis to reveal the hidden Global Circuits between these cities is conducted in conjunction with this research.

Global Financial Circuit

Global Financial Circuit

London, New York, and Tokyo are the centers of HQ-Affiliate networks, reflecting their strong connections with each other as the three major financial centers. Paris is connected with more Asian cities than London is, revealing that it is a hidden financial center through this analysis.


Institute for Urban Strategies
The Mori Memorial Foundation
Yasuyuki Miwa

Link to the GPCI previous reports

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