London Tops World’s Best Cities List for 3rd Year in a Row

Author: Curt Wagner       

Best Cities

Big Ben Tower and the Houses of Parliament are seen through the London Eye at dusk from Waterloo Bridge. London topped the 2020 Best Cities list. (David Angel/Visit Britain)

London once again tops Resonance Consultancy’s list of the world’s 100 best performing cities for 2020, but New York City moved up a notch to No. 2, switching places with Paris, which held the second position in 2018 and 2019.

Resonance, a leading advisor in real estate, tourism, and economic development for countries, cities, and communities, called London the “capital of capitals” and said that despite the messy Brexit drama, the city “teems, incessantly, with energy, projects, and people.”

The annual World’s Best Cities Report ranks the relative quality of the world’s “principal cities” with metropolitan populations of one million or more. The consultancy group bases the list on its own methodology that analyzes a combination of core statistics, user-generated reviews, and online activity in channels such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, and TripAdvisor. Resonance takes a holistic approach to its rankings by considering 22 factors that showed positive correlations with attracting investment and visitors — “key performance indicators both in terms of measuring existing desirability and forecasting the future prosperity of a city,” wrote president and CEO Chris Fair in a forward to the report.

The ranking analyzes and compares these factors in six key categories — promotion, place, product, prosperity, people, and programming.

London ranks atop the categories of programming, “the experiential pillars of a great visit: food, shows, shopping, and nightlife,” and promotion, which is based on how well the city tells its story and helps others do the same.

The programming and product categories go hand in hand, and both are of special interest to the business events industry. The programming category, Resonance said, could be considered the “software” of a city with its subcategories of culture, nightlife, dining, and shopping. The “hardware” is the product category, which includes a city’s key institutions, attractions, and infrastructure including the subcategories of airport connectivity, convention centers, attractions and museums, and university rankings.

Despite its 56th place ranking in the subcategory of convention centers, New York City moved to No. 2 overall, Resonance said, because it is “an experiential, sensory powerhouse obsessed with welcoming the world.” NYC ranked first in the subcategory of culture. Resonance also mentioned as positives the expansion the Jacob K. Javits Center conference complex, a planned JFK airport revamp, and that LaGuardia and Newark airports are “in the process of becoming world-class bearable.”

The full 2019 World’s Best Cities Report is available for download at Resonance. All 100 cities are profiled at BestCities.org, including a “Your Best Cities” feature that lets you find a best city based on what is important to you. Here are the top 20 from the list:

  1. London, England
  2. New York City, USA
  3. Paris, France
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Moscow, Russia
  6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  7. Singapore, Republic of Singapore
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Los Angeles, USA
  10. Rome, Italy
  1. San Francisco, USA
  2. Madrid, Spain
  3. Chicago, USA
  4. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  6. Beijing, China
  7. Toronto, Canada
  8. Doha, Qatar
  9. Hong Kong, China
  10. San Diego, USA