What do Chengdu, Lagos, and Chicago have in common?

April 05, 2011 |
Rob Cassidy

They’re all “world middleweight cities” that are likely to become regional megacities (10 million people) by 2025—along with Dongguan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Wuhan (China); Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo); Jakarta (Indonesia); Lahore (Pakistan); and Chennai (India).

These “emerging middleweight” cities are among the “City 600,” the top 600 cities by contribution to global GDP growth from 2007 to 2005, as defined in a new report from McKinsey Global Institute: “Urban World: Mapping the economic power of cities”.

The 1.5 billion people who live in the City 600 (22% of world population) accounted for $30 trillion of GDP in 2007—more than half of global GDP. The top 100 alone generated $21 trillion, 38% of global GDP, according to McKinsey.

By 2025, these 600 cities will be home to 2.0 billion, a quarter of the world’s population, and account for $64 trillion, or 60% of global GDP.

The top 25 “hot spots” for GDP by 2025 include (in rank order) New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco, along with such places as São Paolo (Brazil), Rhein-Ruhr (Germany), Mexico City, Randstad (Netherlands), Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.

Other key findings of the McKinsey study:

• By 2025, the makeup of the City 600 will change as the center of gravity of the urban world moves south and east. One-third of developed market cities will no longer make the top 600.

• By 2025, up to 136 new cities will enter the City 600 list, all of them from the developing world—100 of them from China alone, including Haerbin, Shantou, and Guiyang.

• India will contribute 13 newcomers to the City 600 list, including Hyderabad and Surat. Latin America will add eight, notably Cancún (Mexico) and Barranquilla (Colombia).

• About 310 million more people of working-age population will live in the City 600 by 2025—almost 35% of the expansion of the global workforce, almost all of it in emerging markets and two-thirds in China and South Asia.

What do all these fascinating data points mean to the design and construction industry, and to you as an AEC professional? In a nutshell, the McKinsey people are saying, If you want to grow your business—and your career—over the next 15 years, you must look to foreign climes.

It is in the emerging cities that GDP will be growing at a faster rate than global GDP. Where the workforce will be expanding more quickly than in the rest of the world. Where demand for housing, retail shops, schools, libraries, museums, data centers, universities, office buildings, religious centers—all the magnificent structures you and your firms create and build—will be accelerating at a hyperfast rate compared to the growth, if any, in much of the developed world.

To be competitive in the coming decade and a half, AEC firms and professionals are going to have to shift their lines of sight eastward and southerly, to places with names like Luanda, Chongqing, Dhaka, Colombo, and Grande Vitória.

Rob Cassidy | BD+C Editors

Robert Cassidy is Executive Editor of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

Related Blogs

Annual mortgage payment plus property tax per average square foot of housing in US cities.

Source: World Business Chicago

April 30, 2018 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C EditorsRobert Cassidy

It's inaccurate to focus on property taxes as a percentage of home value without acknowledging the actual c...

MIT’s Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl

MIT’s Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl

January 05, 2018 | Big Data | BD+C EditorsDavid Barista, Editorial Director

At a time when research- and data-based methods are playing a larger role in architecture, there remains a...

Illustration: Pixabay

December 30, 2016 | Building Team | BD+C Editors

Women AEC professionals need you to take action. 

Lissette Méndez-Boyer (left) and Natalya Shimanovskaya work on their FABRICation project at Beyer Blinder Belle’s New York office. Photo courtesy BBB

September 06, 2016 | AEC Tech | BD+C Editors

AEC firms are taking a page from the tech industry, by infusing a deep commitment to innovation and disrupt...

Intel Co-founders (l. to r.): Andrew Grove, Robert Noyce, and Gordon Moore. Photo: Wikimedia Commons   

June 27, 2016 | AEC Tech | BD+C Editors

“Sooner or later, something fundamental in your business world will change.” The late Andrew Grove (1936-20...

Photo: Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Corey Lewis , U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons; photo filter via BeFunky.com

May 31, 2016 | AEC Tech | BD+C Editors

As buildings become increasingly connected, opportunistic hackers have countless avenues into a building’s...

Lexus RX 450h self-driving car. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

May 09, 2016 | AEC Tech | BD+C Editors

Despite popular belief, the country is not in a great age of technological and digital innovation, at least...

Deep Learning + AI: How machines are becoming master problem solvers

The world’s top Go player Lee Sedol puts the first stone against Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo during the third match of the Google DeepMind Challenge match in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Reuters/Google/Yonhap

March 31, 2016 | AEC Tech | BD+C Editors

Besides revolutionary changes to the world’s workforce, artificial intelligence could have a profound impac...

Yotel, New York City. Photo: JasonParis, flickr creative commons

March 09, 2016 | Hotel Facilities | BD+C EditorsRobert Cassidy, Executive Editor

Hotels are going for a new minimalist look to attract younger guests, but some older business travelers don...

Is the booming freelance economy a threat to AEC firms?

Photo: Pixabay

February 24, 2016 | Architects | BD+C Editors

By shifting the work (and revenue) to freelancers, “platform capitalism” startups have taken considerable m...

Overlay Init