A new era of city competition – the Paris story


Paris is known and admired around the world for its cultural heritage, unique character and inspiring architecture, but it is also one of the world’s most economically powerful and influential cities. JLL’s analysis of cities positions it as one of six ‘Established World Cities’: alongside London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, putting the city firmly in the top tier.

JLL’s research into the 200 city indices that rank and benchmark cities, reveals the French capital’s diverse strengths across the fields of transport infrastructure, city branding, human capital and higher education. In the real estate sector, Paris is one of the four most popular destinations for investment, attracting more than US$65 billion of investment over the past three years. This is perhaps unsurprising considering Paris is the world’s third largest office market and home to the headquarters of 57 of the world’s largest companies.

Yet ‘Established World Cities’ such as Paris face intense and growing competition from fast-globalising mega-cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, as well as from the increasing global reach and high-value specialisations of medium-sized ‘New World Cities’, such as Boston, Berlin and Melbourne. Leading global cities need to evolve and transform to stay ahead of the competition, and the French capital stands out for the breadth and radical nature of the steps it is taking.

It is currently implementing one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the world – the €26 billion ‘Grand Paris’ scheme. This massive project, which involves more than 200 kilometres of new metro lines and 57 brand new stations, will form connections between diverse parts of the city and open up new areas to businesses, residents and developers alike.

Yet, this is not just a large-scale infrastructure investment, but a change in the way the city is governed. The new ‘Metropole du Grand Paris’ body, which came into effect at the beginning of 2016, responds to a broader shift towards metropolitan governance across the world. Along with connecting parts of the city through new transport links, the region’s decision-making and strategy is now also becoming more aligned.

In a decade’s time, Paris will look like a very different city. La Defense is undergoing a large-scale revitalisation programme in order to turn it into a truly mixed-use district, while the distinctive ‘Tour Triangle’ will be the first new skyscraper in the city centre for nearly 40 years. At the same time, Paris launched the ‘Reinventer Paris’ programme, which sought innovative architectural and design solutions to create the ‘Paris of Tomorrow’. This is in addition to the myriad of schemes set in motion by the ‘Grand Paris’ project.

This desire for innovative solutions has led to discussions on a new urban gondola system at Televal, extending its successful electric car sharing network (Autolib) and experimenting with car-free days (Journee sans Voiture) in a multi-faceted approach to transforming mobility.

It is not just the urban landscape that will change, but the nature of the city’s economy. In responding to an increasingly innovation-driven world, Paris is developing the Paris-Saclay research cluster, and the redevelopment of Halle Freyssinet will form the world’s largest start-up incubator, accommodating 4,000 workers. The French capital is already a global hub for higher education and research, but the city is well aware that it cannot rest on its laurels and must continue to harness creativity and promote innovation.

The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has said that “Paris has to reinvent itself at every moment” in the face of growing global competition and new economic drivers. From the range of transformations outlined above, which represent just a small number of its pioneering projects, Paris is truly committed to reinventing itself and preparing for the new era of city competition. The future cannot be predicted, but the city is putting itself in a strong position to maintain its position as a leading global city.


To find out more about Paris’s competitive position, visit our website: http://www.jll.com/cities-research

To find out more about Grand Paris, visit: http://www.grand-paris.jll.fr/en/


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