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How to make a city great: A review of the steps city leaders around the world take to transform their cities into great places to live and work

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Shannon Bouton, David Cis, Lenny Mendonca, Herbert Pohl, Jaana Remes, Henry Ritchie, Jonathan Woetzel
  • Publisher: McKinsey & Company

What makes a great city? It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people—60 percent of the world’s population—will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbo-charging the world’s economic growth. But for the leaders who govern cities, the challenges are tough. Those in many developing nations have to cope with urbanization on an unprecedented scale. Those in developed nations, where growth prospects are weaker, wrestle with aging infrastructure and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain their competitiveness and hence the livelihoods of residents. All are conscious of the quality of life enjoyed by present citizens. And all are aware of the environmental legacy they will leave citizens of the future if they fail to find more sustainable, resource-efficient ways of expanding their local economies and managing their cities.

This report presents research and analysis of urban economic, social and environmental performance indicators, interviews with local mayors and city leaders, and synthesized findings from over 80 case studies that sought to understand the steps that city leaders had taken to improve a range of processes and services.

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