The 10 Traits of Globally Fluent Metro Areas

Swift global integration, the expansion of a global consumer class, and the rise of urban areas as the engines of global economic growth have ushered in a new era that demands more global engagement from America’s city and regional leaders. These two papers, including the international edition, present 10 traits of globally fluent metro areas and their critical relationship to the competitiveness, productivity, and prosperity of cities and regions in the 21st century.

1. Leadership with a Worldview - Local leadership networks with a global outlook have great potential for impact on the global fluency of a metro area.

2. Legacy of Global Orientation - Due to their location, size, and history, certain cities were naturally oriented toward global interaction at an early stage, giving them a first mover advantage

3. Specializations with Global Reach - Cities often establish their initial global position through a distinct economic specialization, leveraging it as a platform for diversification.

Metro Area Profiles

Use the map or the table below to view/download PDF profiles of the selected regions (the selection of case studies is not presumed to be a ranking or top division of globally fluent metro areas, nor a representative sample of all cities).

BangaloreHamburgNairobiSingapore
BarcelonaHelsinkiNanjingSydney
BilbaoIstanbulNew YorkTel Aviv
BostonLondonOmahaTokyo
BrisbaneLos AngelesOsloToronto
BusanMexico CitySan AntonioVienna
Cape TownMiamiSan FranciscoWashington, DC
ChicagoMilanSan JoseWichita
ColomboMinneapolis-Saint PaulSao PauloZurich
DenverMoscowSeattle
GreenvilleMunichShenzhen

4. Adaptability to Global Dynamics - Cities that sustain their market positions are able to adjust to each new cycle of global change.

5. Culture of Knowledge and Innovation - In an increasingly knowledge-driven world, positive development in the global economy requires high levels of human capital to generate new ideas, methods, products, and technologies.

6. Opportunity and Appeal to the World - Metro areas that are appealing, open, and opportunity-rich serve as magnets for attracting people and firms from around the world.

7. International Connectivity - Global relevance requires global reach that efficiently connects people and goods to international markets through well-designed, modern infrastructure.

8. Ability to Secure Investment for Strategic Priorities - Attracting investment from a wide variety of domestic and international sources is decisive in enabling metro areas to effectively pursue new growth strategies.

9. Government as Global Enabler - Federal, state, and local governments have unique and complementary roles to play in enabling firms and metro areas to “go global.”

10. Compelling Global Identity - Cities must establish an appealing global identity and relevance in international markets not only to sell the city, but also to shape and build the region around a common purpose.

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