The best performers in terms of urban marketing are those that are capable of building a shared “urban- vision” and are characterised by a consistent approach across all marketing agencies with a mandate to profile and brand the urban internationally. In this regard, New York came out tops for being active in all aspects of urban marketing from the use of financial incentives to urban regeneration initiatives. The urban is working to retain and enhance its global position through extensive planning efforts, communication campaigns and infrastructure developments. In Asia, the two major Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing are recognised for their strong marketing capabilities through international events. Shanghai recently held the successful Formula 1 and will be host to the 2007 Special Olympics and 2010 World Expo. Beijing played host to the 2004 ATP Tennis Tournament and the world will again focus on this capital urban in the rundown to the 2008 Olympics.
Efficient urban governance has a critical influence on an urban attractiveness to both investors and occupiers of real estate. Governance is however a difficult concept to define and quantify. Efficient urban governance can be defined as the process for making and implementing decisions. The Survey’s Urban Governance model measured seven aspects of governance – integrity, autonomy, stability, efficiency and effectiveness (that are grouped into a score for Urban Management), along with the efficiency and effectiveness of Urban Marketing programmes. For each of these indicators, a mix of quantifiable data and softer, qualitative information was collected. Singapore was most noted for its physical integrity and urban autonomy, together with Barcelona and Dubai. These three cities have a single administrative and political body whose geographical area of responsibility broadly matches the geography or urban economy.
Interestingly, Singapore and Dubai are “urban states” and are characterised by their prominent regional position and cultural diversity. Furthermore, they have strong urban autonomy too given their high cap urban to allocate financial resources according to their spending priorities, as well as raising resources to fulfill the same priorities without depending on central government transfers. In both Singapore and Dubai, over 50% of local public sector expenditure is raised by local public sector revenue sources. The Australasian cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland have shown high financial stability over the past five years and together with London and Paris, have performed well from the financial stability aspect.
A urban is “efficient” when it is capable of providing outputs such as financial management, service delivery or infrastructure investment, in the best way given the resources available. Outputs can be delivered through local and central government structures, Public-Private Partnerships and non-profit organisations. The efficiency of the mixed model (public/private) is very much aligned with the idea that good governance is a result of the concerted action of a network of players. Cities covered in the survey still largely support their budget position through public funds, with the exception of Hong Kong, which displayed a high level of efficiency with its mix of fixed investments strongly biased towards the private sector (about 25% public and 75% private). While the level of private investment is somewhat lower in the Chinese cities (Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai), they still score reasonably strongly on this criteria with an average of 50% public and 50% private resources.
Urban marketing programmes are another barometer of good governance. In many instances, cities have used major events to raise their profile in the international arena. In Asia, the two major Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing are recognised for their strong marketing capabilities through international events. Shanghai recently held the successful Formula 1 and will be host to the 2007 Special Olympics and 2010 World Expo. Beijing played host to the 2004 ATP Tennis Tournament and the world will again focus on this capital city in the rundown to the 2008 Olympics, Of notable mention is Barcelona which used the 1992 Olympic Games as a catalyst to renovate the urban. After the Games, it has maintained and reinforced its image through a marketing strategy that “sells” the urban as the leisure and cultural center of Europe. Using buildings to market cities is another tactic used in urban marketing programmes. Dubai epitomizes the use of the built environment as a catalyst for investment. It has built a major harbour, Jebel Ali which has become the cargo hub of the Gulf region used increasingly for trading with China by over 2,500 companies located in the tax free zone.
It has also become a leading world tourist destination in part due to the “iconic” value attached to the Burj-Al Arab Hotel. In New York, the physical regeneration of the World Trade Centre area symbolises the re-birth of the urban. Landmark developments like the Opera House in Sydney and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur also serve to raise the international profile of these cities.