How the Crash Will Reshape the World's Cities

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An ebbing tide lowers all ships, but which leading world cities will sink in the Great Recession? Atlantic correspondent Richard Florida points me to this excellent report on how the global financial centers are weathering the financial storm. The biggest loser in the world is:

It's Tokyo. The report in short goes like this: The mighty survive. Japan is crushed. And the leading global financial centers moving up in the world are concentrated in the southeastern Asian corner: Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

The creme de la financial creme remains in tact. The top six ranked global financial centers from last year are the top six this year. In order, they are: London, New York City, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich and Geneva. The biggest loser in the top 50 cities was Tokyo, which fell a world-leading eight spots and now clocks in at 15th, behind Jersey and Guernsey, which have, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as self-styled financial service juggernauts of the United Kingdom.

The report is full of interesting tidbits (download the pdf here if you'd like) but one I really like is the graph, which ranks the financial centers with the greatest prospects for growth according to interviews and assessments. Most of these seem predictable, but I'm interested in Qatar (ranked 46 overall, between Kuala Lumpur and Madrid) zooming onto the scene. The report doesn't delve too much into explanations except to say that it is apparently becoming less corrupt.

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Also, on the subject of flat worlds, it deserves a mention that Australia/New Zealand has more top-60 financial centers than the continents of Africa and South America combined.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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