Moscow ranked number one in PwC’s emerging cities report


Moscow has taken the top spot in PwC’s latest global rating of the largest cities within the E7 Group of seven major emerging economies.

From Moscow to São Paulo: Emerging 7 Cities Report, published by PwC and released during the Moscow Urban Forum, gave the Russian capital first place over Beijing which was relegated to second place, with Mexico City remaining in third place.

The rise in ranking, according to PwC, was due to Moscow’s “strong growth dynamic, which persists even under adverse conditions”.

Speaking at a session during the two-day forum in Moscow, the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin said: “We are always among the top three cities and in the past year took second place.”

Sobyanin added that the achievement can be attributed to the fact that Moscow has “its own face” and should not copy other cities but merely apply the best technologies and trends that exist, yet respect Moscow’s ecosystem.

The Russian capital scored 338 points, or four more than the Chinese capital and 46 more than Mexico City. Moscow took first place in five of the 10 indicators used in the PwC analysis. The five indicators include intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; transport and infrastructure; sustainability and the natural environment; and demographics and liveability.

International praise

The city also won recognition from other international speakers including Charles Ledward, Global Lead for Planning and Economics at engineering and consulting firm AECOM.

“I’ve been coming to Moscow for ten years, and even just in Gorky Park it has changed dramatically with an increase in people, life and activity,” he told Cities Today.

Ledward praised the mayor for his Street Project which despite causing massive disruption to traffic in the city centre has now helped foster life and activity by widening pedestrian pavements.

“It’s not just about a bit of paving but a vital part of life and he realises that what his city is about is continually improving the quality of life, and the experience. He is doing that,” added Ledward.

What will be the 2018 World Cup legacy for Russian cities?

Despite Russia being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France, organisers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup attempted to put on a different face of Russian football during the forum.

With less than two years remaining, organisers spoke of learning from other cities’ experiences in hosting the World Cup and from the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. They were also upfront about the ‘elephant in the room’, namely leaving behind a legacy of ‘white elephants’.

“We want to leave behind a tangible and intangible legacy,” said Alexander Djordjadze, Russia 2018’s Deputy CEO. “This includes the 12 stadiums in 11 cities but also the new skills, knowledge and other non sporting infrastructure we will gain from hosting.”

To ensure this, Djordjadze emphasised that half of the 670 billion rubles (US$10.5 billion) budgeted for the World Cup will be spent on transport across all cities.
“All of the 11 city airports are being either refurbished or built and barrier free environments will be improved in all cities,” he added.

The two-day forum, hosted by the Moscow City Government, attracting 70 delegations from dozens of countries, concluded with a weekend festival.

Jonathan Andrews
Cities Today Magazine