The first EY-ULI global business districts attractiveness survey aims to evaluate how district attractiveness really compares

There are many studies of the economic attractiveness of countries, regions and cities. However, this study, focused on the attractiveness of leading business districts, is a world first. Initiated by Paris La Défense, which oversees the development and management of the Paris La Défense business district, it was conducted against a backdrop of profound changes in the world economy, and intensified competition between countries and cities.

 How were the business districts selected?

The 17 business districts have five common characteristics which form the foundation of the definition used in the survey. These districts:

  • form part of one of the world’s 100 most-populous cities
  • have significant volumes of Class A offices
  • have a sizeable labour pool within the metropolis
  • have a concentration of advanced tertiary activities and head office activities
  • have a concentration of dense development and high-rise buildings
 Overall approach
How were the business districts ranked?

The EY-ULI 2017 ranking is designed to weigh the appeal of each business district in accordance with the five quality and attractiveness drivers.
The business districts were not ranked on the basis of costs because companies apply varying ‘value for money’ criteria when choosing locations.

Hence, the 17 business districts are ranked according to each of the five drivers.

Each driver is composed of several indicators. The business district ranked first in the indicator gets 100 and the business district ranked last gets 0. The other business districts get a score between 0 and 100 depending on their performance.

Some qualities are considered essential, others desirable. Essential qualities were given a higher weighting when calculating scores.

The final ranking is achieved by calculating an average score for each business district. The groups of attractiveness drivers are weighted according to their importance, based on the proportion of respondents to the online survey who classified them as ‘very important’. The figures were then adjusted according to the GDP of the region of origin of respondents. Using this method, a weighting of 34% was given to the Americas; 33% to Europe, Middle-East and Africa; and 33% to Asia-Pacific.

Who conducted this study?

The project, which began in January 2017, was carried out by two organizations whose expertise is recognized worldwide.

EY, an outstanding experience in territorial attractiveness and business location strategiesEY advises public and private organizations in defining, implementing and evaluating their development, competitiveness and attractiveness strategies. EY also publishes benchmark international surveys (such as its Attractiveness surveys) which bring together public and private perspectives. With its International Location Advisory Services (ILAS), EY developed a renowned expertise in helping major companies with their location strategies around the world.

ULI, an independent research and education organizationThe Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a non-profit research and education organization supported by its members. Founded in Chicago in 1936, the institute now has almost 40,000 members worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines, working in private enterprise and public service. ULI has a strong history of balanced and objective research, publishing data and analysis that help land use leaders anticipate emerging trends and issues and explore new approaches and creative solutions.

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