Cities are the new nations.
That may sound like a bold statement, but consider the evidence.
More of us are city dwellers: For the first time in history, more people live in urban areas than not. According to the United Nations, 54.5% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 60% by 2030, by which time one in three people on the planet will live in a city of at least half a million inhabitants.
There are more cities than ever: Cities are increasing in number. In 2016 there were an estimated 1,063 settlements of more than half a million people; by 2030 it is forecasted to be almost 1,400, housing more than five billion people.
Cities are getting bigger: Not only is the number of cities increasing, they are increasing in size. By 2030, there will be ten more ‘megacities’, cities with populations over 10 million, than there are today.
Cities are economic powerhouses: McKinsey estimates that by 2025, the world’s 600 top earning cities by contribution to global GDP will have economies worth $64 trillion, almost 60% of global GDP.
Cities are centres of cultural influence: From high art to street culture, food to fashion, music to murals, cultural trends start in cities.
Cities are leading social change: The juxtaposition of people of different cultures and the relative concentration of younger people puts cities at the leading edge of social change, be that the liberalisation of abortion laws in Dublin or calls for gun control in New York City.
It is therefore no surprise that in our #6into18 trends analysis, we identified cities as focal points for professional marketers and communicators, with city-focused campaigns even supplanting national or regional ones. If cities are where the people are, where the tastemakers are, and where the money is, why waste marketing dollars anywhere else?
But it’s not that simple.
Much like countries, no two cities are the same. In New Nations, we look at the four overlapping spheres of influence at play and offer clues for navigating them.
Anatomy of a City:
Influence and Impact
In any city, there is a delicate ecosystem of influence and impact.
While national government policies have a local impact, cities are increasingly able to influence these as a result of their economic and demographic clout.
But cities’ policies on a range of issues are at least in part a response to city dwellers views and opinions, expressed directly and indirectly - views and opinions which are themselves shaped by the influence of traditional and social media.
The relative weight of these influences varies from city to city, and understanding how to break in to these complex networks requires intelligence, insights and connections.