05/14/2012 04:29 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 08:25 EDT

World's Most Powerful Cities: Toronto Takes 18th Spot In Global Metropolitan Rankings


Canada, get ready to resent Toronto even more.

The country’s largest city has placed as the 18th most powerful metropolitan area in the world in a wide-ranging “survey of surveys.”

Richard Florida, a well-known urban studies theorist currently working at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, analyzed five different surveys ranking world cities’ economies in an effort to put together an authoritative list on which of the world’s cities are the most important to the world’s economy.


Not surprisingly, New York came out on top. Second place went to London, while Tokyo took third.

The only Canadian city to make the list was Toronto, tying with Shenzhen, China, for 18th place. The list ranked the top 19 most powerful cities.

Toronto has been basking in the glow of recent global rankings that have placed it among the world's most prominent cities. It recently ranked as the fourth-best city in the world to launch a tech startup, and as the tenth-most innovative urban region in the world.

Florida, a native of the U.S., has long been known to be a fan of Toronto, holding the city up as a paragon of 21st-century success even before he came to Toronto to head U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute.

In his research on the “creative class” that he says moves the global economy forward, Florida pointed to Toronto as a centre of the sort of cultural diversity that a city needs to attract creative people and, therefore, an innovative economy.

Florida also praised Toronto for its resilience in the face of a changing global economy.

I hold up Toronto as an example of an older Frost Belt city that has effectively made the transition to a new economy based on finance, media, service, technology and design-intensive manufacturing,” Florida wrote at the Toronto Star in 2010.

Three Chinese cities made Florida’s list, including one -- Shenzhen -- whose rise to prominence as a global economic power was so rapid the city is still not a household name to most people in the west. In all, eight of the cities in the top 20 were in Asia, reflecting that continent’s rise to economic prominence.

But Florida says the rise of Asia isn’t a threat to New York’s dominance -- even with the U.S.'s banking crisis and high unemployment rate.

“While China is projected to eclipse the United States as the world's largest economy by as early as 2016 according to some predictions, it will be some time before Asian cities overtake New York,” Florida wrote at The Atlantic.

He said New York’s spot is “secure at least for the medium run” because of its cultural openness and diversity.

The survey compiled data from five different sources: The Global Economic Power Index (which Richard Florida’s own Martin Prosperity Institute publishes); the Economist’s Global City Competitiveness Index; A.T. Kearney’s Global City Index; the Global Financial Centers Index, and projections for future GDP from the McKinsey Global Institute.


Text version below slideshow.

The World's Most Economically Powerful Cities

18. Toronto, Canada [tie]

18. Shenzhen, China [tie]

16. Dortmund-Dusseldorf-Essen, Germany [tie]

16. Brussels, Belgium [tie]

15. Osaka, Japan

14. Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

11. Seoul, South Korea [tie]

11. Boston, U.S.A. [tie]

11. Beijing, China [tie]

10. Zurich, Switzerland

9. Los Angeles, U.S.A.

8. Shanghai, China

7. Singapore

6. Chicago, U.S.A.

4. Hong Kong [tie]

4. Paris, France [tie]

3. Tokyo, Japan

2. London, U.K.

1. New York, U.S.A.