Price Waterhouse Cooper (or PwC as they now catchily call themselves) have just issued a fascinating analysis if the relative GDP of 150 major cities around the world and taken an educated stab at their relative success in 2020. Largest city economics in the world in 2005 and 2020 They have combined statistics for GDP with those for per capita income in order to arrive at a (relatively) equally valued output. Using these statistics the number one ranking goes to Tokyo and according to the report London will be creeping up from number 6 to become the fourth largest capital in the world. Tipped for the highest growth in real GDP are the great cities of China, that is Shanghai and Beijing, followed closely by Mumbai and the big Latin American cities. Other far eastern climbers will include Seoul and Manila.
The study recognises the limitations of such an overview in particular by the slightly arbitrary way that the boundaries of such cities are drawn. For example Greater London as defined by the GLA area would leave out a vast swath of commuter towns which rely completely on the London effect. For example we could consider that Reading, Slough, Guildford, Luton and Basildon are all really the outer reaches of London.
Of course what would also be interesting would be to compare the relative populations and the footprints of these cities. London has very specific plans for physical and population growth, but its plans for economic growth are only inferred in The London Plan by an increase in employment.
I have a hunch that the Chinese cities with their mega growth plans may be underestimated in the stats and that existing major cities like London may be over estimated. These figures were of course compiled by Englishmen!