According to the seventh edition of the City Momentum Index compiled by real estate services firm JLL, Chennai has been ranked fifth in the list of the world’s most dynamic cities. Technology hub Hyderabad edged out 129 other cities in the world to emerge at the top.
All seven major Indian cities feature in this year’s Global Top 20. However, cities in south India in particular – Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai are ahead of their northern peers, supported by favourable demographics and business climates. While Hyderabad and Bengaluru are the top two cities globally for socio-economic momentum, a more active real estate market helped elevate Hyderabad to first position in the overall ranking, says the report released by the US-based Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL). Hyderabad recorded the highest office net absorption in 2019 (as a proportion of existing stock) of any city globally, while it is also among the world’s best-performing cities for prime office rental growth.
“Their expanding tech industries and start-up cultures make them a magnet for young and ambitious talent from across the country, with Bengaluru having one of the world’s largest concentrations of ‘engine room’ population (20-40-year olds), typically the most dynamic and productive age cohort,” says the report. Kolkata and Mumbai made it to the top 20 and stood at the 16th and 20th positions. Despite economic slowdown, India leads 2020 Index with seven Indian cities in the top 20.
“Commercial real estate in south Indian cities is growing at a rapid pace. Hyderabad has seen tremendous growth in 2019 in line with that of Bengaluru. The city has embraced technology driven economic growth and attracted large tech giants and e-commerce players. The state government’s focus on business-friendly policies and provision of quality infrastructure along with availability of quality talent pool and superior quality business parks has given Hyderabad a competitive edge, said Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head - India, JLL.
The JLL City Momentum Index identifies key growth drivers, including talent attraction, the expansion of innovation hubs and better urban planning, that cities can employ to meet the challenges faced by rapid momentum. Several cities in the top 20 stand out as they transform their urban environments in pursuit of a low-carbon future. In India, Hyderabad is looking at technology to reduce the demand for air conditioning with cool roofs that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat, it said. “The growth of “micro-mobility” is another positive step, illustrated by Hyderabad’s introduction of smart bikes and electric cars. Smart city solutions, such as bike rentals, improved quality of life, help increase inclusion and aid in the transition to a low carbon environment.”
Jeremy Kelly, Director of Cities Research at JLL, said, “The remarkable dynamism in the emerging Asian economies is proof that economic reforms, business growth and infrastructure investment can drive the expansion of industry, significantly in the tech sector, and facilitate a start-up culture. This is now being repeated the world over, as geographical diversity looks to be returning to the Index.”
“One common ingredient when looking at cities that can successfully adapt to (or successfully transition from rapid-growth to sustainable long-term momentum rapid-growth is the importance placed on governance and leadership – something often overlooked. The complex nature of city transformation relating to the innovation economy, climate mitigation and a changing geopolitical world means a city’s governance system is increasingly critical to a city being ‘future-fit’ for the coming decades,” said Kelly.
The Index shows the steps that cities can take to overcome some of the issues associated with rapid growth. Continued investment in infrastructure can unlock new locations, reduce congestion and improve air quality. Chinese cities continue to benefit from investment in metro lines, highspeed rail and increased airport capacity. Real estate will form a key part of a city’s overall smart city strategy and its efforts to reduce energy consumption through smart building technologies that drive greater energy efficiency and by creating thriving, inclusive and affordable communities.