Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Outlook: Cities Poised for Future Dominance

As dynamic social, geopolitical, and technological trends reshape global city hierarchies, new opportunities emerge for cities to become centers of productivity and innovation. Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Outlook Ranking spotlights the cities best positioned for future global leadership, evaluating them on personal well-being, economics, innovation, and governance.

Let’s dive into the key findings and rankings of this report.

Key Takeaways:

Disruption of Global City Hierarchies

  • Migration to More Attractive Metros: The movement towards more appealing metropolitan areas is disrupting established global cities.
  • Remote Work and Pandemic Shifts: These factors are altering traditional urban dynamics, enhancing productivity distribution, and challenging the reliance on dense urban areas. This shift impacts both high-skill and low-skill workers.
  • Generative AI: Rapid advancements in generative AI are reshaping the global economy by removing barriers to various professions and questioning the legitimacy of traditional urban centers.
  • Service Economy Growth: Sectors conducive to remote work are expanding faster than those requiring centralized production sites, reflecting the changing nature of urban economies.

Strategic Considerations for Cities

Cities need to emphasize talent attraction, quality of life, cultural experiences, and a favorable regulatory environment to strengthen human capital, focusing on tertiary education and international student attraction. They should reskill and redeploy the local workforce in response to market demands, leveraging generative AI.

Optimizing social infrastructure to attract and retain talent through cultural institutions, physical spaces, and services is crucial.

Additionally, developing “public digital infrastructure” for creating “smart” cities is essential to prepare for future AI advancements and maintain a competitive advantage.

Leading Cities for Future Opportunities

  • San Francisco: Took first place from London. The city improved significantly in innovation, becoming the leader in the AI boom which prevented talent loss.
  • Copenhagen: Second place, climbing six ranks to enter the top five for the first time. Showed across-the-board improvements, notably in governance, and benefited from national reforms to increase its economic resilience and improve its social welfare programs.
  • London: Fell to third place after four years at the top. Maintained the top position in personal well-being, despite the impact of post-Brexit economic struggles.
  • Luxembourg: Fourth place, strong in economics, particularly in employment and GDP,  but declined in well-being and innovation.
  • Paris: Fell three places to fifth place after facing economic and civic challenges caused by inflation.
City Rank
San Francisco 1
Copenhagen 2
London 3
Luxembourg 4
Paris 5
Dublin 6
Helsinki 7
Stockholm 8
Munich 9
Singapore 10

Biggest Movers and Shakers

This year, several cities have made impressive gains in the rankings, reflecting their rapid growth and increasing influence on the global stage.

City Change
Phoenix 60
Rome 39
Miami 29
Zagreb 28
Dallas 26
Boston 25
Monterrey 23
São Paulo 23
Seoul 22
Ahmedabad 19
Doha 16


The Global Cities Outlook Ranking assesses 156 cities across four dimensions:

  • Personal well-being: safety, healthcare, social equity, environmental performance.
  • Economics: long-term investments, GDP.
  • Innovation: entrepreneurship through patents, private investments, incubators.
  • Governance: stability through transparency, bureaucracy quality.

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading American global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries worldwide. For nearly 100 years, Kearney has advised C-suites, government bodies, and nonprofit organizations.


The 2023 Kearney Global Cities Outlook Ranking provides essential insights into the shifting dynamics of the world’s leading cities. Top-tier cities cannot take their positions for granted, as migration, remote work, and generative AI are redistributing productivity and challenging established urban centers, shifting economic activities to more balanced and attractive metros.

City leaders must adapt to an increasingly competitive and distributed global landscape, using these insights to foster resilience, innovation, and sustained growth in an ever-changing global environment.

For a detailed look at the full rankings and insights, visit the 2023 Global Cities Report on Kearney’s website.

Want more? Explore our City Observatory for snapshots of how major cities around the world compare in terms of economic performance, city brand strength, sustainability and reputation.


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