Chicago gains in global cities ranking

By Kathy Bergen
Posted Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.

Chicago moved up two slots, to No. 6, in an updated ranking of global cities, coming in behind New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.

The ranking aims to show how much influence a city has beyond its own borders. It was conducted by Foreign Policy magazine, management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and comes two years after the inaugural ranking by these same parties.

The top four cities retained their hold over the two-year period, though the ranking also showed growing momentum in Asia and the Pacific, with five of the 10 cities deemed most global. In addition to Tokyo and Hong Kong, those cities included Singapore, Sydney and Seoul.

The ranking analyzed data ranging from numbers of major company headquarters to the size of capital markets and the flow of goods through airports and ports, Foreign Policy magazine stated. Other factors included numbers of embassies, think tanks, political organizations and museums.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is expected to present an A.T. Kearney analysis on what contributed to Chicago’s upward move in early September. Among the contributing factors, according to an A.T. Kearney overview, were increases in major corporate headquarters, as well as in business and international conferences. Also cited were better rankings in air freight and in visual and performing arts.

In 2008, Chicago’s strengths included the presence of major capital markets, a highly educated work force, an ability to attract international students to its universities, the presence of a number of Fortune 500 company headquarters, and the size and diversity of its immigrant population.

It did not fare as well on other measures, including visits by international travelers, numbers of foreign correspondents based here, frequency of foreign coverage by local newspapers, and numbers of embassies, think tanks and international organizations.

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  1. Jay Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    “OOOPs damn capslock and spellcheck disorder!!!”

    Yes, it makes you come off as a raving-lunatic…

  2. John in Glenview Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm


    “disrespect for cultures other than their own”

    Chicago was a huge melting pot got people moveing west from Ellis Island. Most seems to get along well. Chicago still has the largest population of Poles outside of Warsaw, a strong Irish community, a vibrant Chinatown, a large Russian group, strong Korean communities, and more and more. Oh, and fairly wide acceptance of the gay community.

    We may have problems in Chicago, but it isn’t hundreds on the streets.

    NY – The temple

    London – “G20 protesters clashed with riot police in downtown London yesterday, breaking into the heavily guarded Royal Bank of Scotland and smashing its windows.”

    SFO – “Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans in San Francisco”

    LA – “More commonly, members of hate groups engage in vandalism such as an incident in Los Angeles, California, this month where vandals slashed tires and sprayed the word “Nazi” on two cars and a house, according to the center. The attack occurred in a neighborhood with signs displaying support for Obama.”

    Italy – “Blaming racism for the attack, dozens of immigrants burned cars and smashed shop windows in Rosarno in two days of riots, throwing rocks at local residents and fighting with the police.”

    I’ll let you read more to get your head into the 20th century of on-line NEWS, not just opinions.

  3. Andy Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Well, good luck to you Jay, since you don’t seem to be able to make a coherent point without resorting to childish name calling I won’t waste much more of my time on you. Your architecture list was predictable. Most of those buildings are nothing special, and things like the Gehry bandshell are laughable since it’s entirely derivative of his work elsewhere. I’ll give you Aqua and the Sofitel, nothing else. The great work is being done in other cities. Seriously, read up a bit on this before you post again.

    And I meant my analogy to schoolwork exactly as I wrote it. The fact that you can’t understand a complex analogy tells me all I need to know about you.

  4. Barry Aug. 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    And where is Rio? The city that beat us for the Olympics.

  5. B Ramos Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    @ Andy, just because the city hasn’t built any new buildings that set the “global standards” since the 1980s doesn’t mean you can write-off Chicago’s Architecture. It’s not just about which city has the most dazzling new tower but you also have to see where new ideas are coming from. Chicago has and will continue to be at the forefront of architecture, beginning with the movements like the international style and the Chicago School of Architecture, etc. Like it or not, Trump Tower has introduced a new standard in engineering by contructing the tallest concrete tower in the world. The tallest building in the world is in Dubai but the brains of its design and engineering were all from Chicago. Likewise, you’ll probably see the spectacular new trophy towers in Shanghai, Russia, or London, but I’m sure their architects are from/influenced by Chicago Architecture.

  6. Gordon VanderMeulen Aug. 17, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Seriously? How about the ranking in the things that really matter, like job creation, where Chicago ranks about dead last. How about murder rates, where Daley like to keep them really high so he can run on phoney “gun control” issues. How about political corruption, allowed by the semi-literate Chicago voters. that along brings about destructively high taxes to pay for all of Daley’s friends. This article is a puff piece that should thoroughly disgust the tax-paying Chicago citizen

  7. Joe Aug. 18, 2010 at 12:03 a.m.

    Andy – Your comment about Chicago’s architecture not being that great because it’s old is ridiculous. With your reasoning I suppose the Greeks had no impact on Western culture. I mean after all they’ve done so little recently.

  8. Joe Aug. 18, 2010 at 12:06 a.m.

    And Gordon – this article isn’t about murder rates, jobs, and political corruption. It is about the global impact of cities. If you want to read about crime, local jobs, and Chicago political hacks, read just about every other article in the newspaper.

  9. Pigraccio Aug. 18, 2010 at 1:58 a.m.

    I love Chicago, hail from Chicago, and all that, but 6th is generous in my opinion. Considering one of the parties that conducted the study was the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, I’m thinking some of the criteria was chosen to favor Chicago.

  10. Dave Aug. 18, 2010 at 7:33 a.m.

    Martha… I have no idea where you come from or who you really are but You seem like the kind of person that does not belong here. I am not trying to be mean, but you either do not get out much around this beautiful city or are the unluckiest person on planet earth and have problems where ever you go. Chicago has the Best Architects in the world, The music scene is unreal. the food is some of the newest and best creations out there along with some of the most recognized chefs in the world. We have Parks that are one of a kind and a symphony thats always rated at or near the top. We have a thriving Theatre scene, World Class Museums and all the Pro sports there are. I would say Chicago is about as Global as it gets. You put in the money Markets, Gold/Silver, The Top Businesses that are here now or originated here and bets of all…. The people! yes there are crazy people, Homeless people and mean people just like there are everywhere. The thing is… there are many less of that type here and much more kind hearted, good people.

    You know what, i am suprised at how many true Chicagoans are on here today and yesterday. You can tell by the type of buildings they bring up, the Neighborhoods they bring up, the problems and the great things about this city that have been brought up. Chicago is most certainly a Global city and is right up there with the best of them. Is it number 6? Heck i dont have a clue but it`s right there. People like This Bruce character that say Chicago is not an Architectual leader is insane but thats ok i guess. We need the insane too. look at a 1/4 of these new fantastic buildings in our city and AROUND the world and you will see a Chicago Architect behind it. The new Super tall buildings Hotels/Office towers in Dubai that are both gorgeous and world renowned…. Chicago Architects, the new 79 story hotel in tokyo… Chicago architects as well and you can go on and on. Please know what you are talking about before you post.

    To the one person on here that says Chicago people are not friendly, where do you live? You have to be kidding me. I have lived in NYC,LA,SanFran,Philly,Tampa,Reno and a couple other smaller cities and there are no people in any of these cities that are as friendly as Chicago. I am very close to 60 years old and lived in this Great city to start my life for 30 years, those other cities for about 16 or so years for my job and then i quit so i could Move back home. None of them compare. Nice things about all of them, sure. The problem is that they only have a few nice things and the bad outweigh the good by a fairly large margin. Chicago has bad things like a FEW of their Neighborhoods 6-7 but the other 100 are awesome with all different types of people, restaraunts,attractions,museums.Homes etc. It`s a wonderful one of kind city. I am getting up there in age now and have lived in alot of places but Chicago is my home from birth and will be my home in Death. No way you can get me out here. Give me the Cold and snow, Give me the heat and the beautiful, Huge thunderstorms, the beautiful Small Ocean sized Lake, the great People and my life is set. Sorry it`s a long post but i could go on for Days about this wondferful place.

  11. Tim Aug. 18, 2010 at 8:31 a.m.

    I’m always suspect of “top” anything lists when a Chicagoan or Chicago-based entity has anything to do with compiling these lists.

    The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs was involved in this list-compiling. Chicago is a major U.S. city but after having moved and lived here for some time, I realized how insecure it is about its “ranking” and the biggest this and largest that – anything to keep itself on the map or on a list.

    The reporting in and about Chicago is completely skewed – it’s akin to living in a Soviet-city state with Blago and Daley keeping everything under control…

  12. Bruce Aug. 18, 2010 at 9:05 a.m.

    I stand by my statement . Chicago is a cesspool of corruption from top to bottom , high taxes , and IS a shooting gallery .
    Also it is falling apart .

  13. Aug. 18, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.

    Blagojevich Corruption Doesn’t Compare

    If you are appalled with the Blogo corruption case…. you should see what occurs daily in the Cook County Probate Courts. The elderly disabled are being victimized by lawyers, judges, and guardianship owners. There are cases of falsified wills, kidnapping, deception, false records entered into court, falsified medical testimonies, perjury, medicaid fraud and abuse, family visitation restrictions, and “facilitation” of early deaths for the elderly. We invite the media, law enforcement, and FBI to investigate this corruption that is occuring in Cook County.
    Lucius Vernenus, Schoolmaster,

  14. Nora Aug. 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Wow martha and felice eliscu should not be let near a computer.

    For all those haters out there, move. Negativity begets more negativity-we just plainly don’t need you here.. While we do have our issues and faults, in general I think Chicago is a great place to live and work. Yes there are more worldly cities out there, but Chicago is right up there.

  15. B Ramos Aug. 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I love it when people complain about how expensive things are in Chicago. Obviously, you haven’t been or lived in New york, London, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. At #6, i think we rank as the highest global city that’s still cheap. Prices are still moderate where you can still purchase a two-bed condo in downtown for about $250k. In New York and Paris, that’s a 1-bed apartment; or a studio or parking space in Tokyo, Hong Kong or London.

  16. Helena Aug. 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Am born and bred in Chicago as well as a tourist in my own hometown. The city, despite what the naysayers opine, is better than it was a good 35 years ago, and, yes, under the direction of Mayor Daley, have returned into being a world class city once again. I do not necessarily agree nor support every endeavor or action exercised by the mayor and his team, but am fully aware of what condition the city was in after the terms served by Mayors Bilandic and Burn and of the interrupted progress of the city when we lost Mayor Harold Washington prematurely. We are better today… this Windy City of ours is greener, bigger, more beautiful, possessing more cultural and entertainment opportunities than before… thereby, showing our World Class abilities despite the obvious shortcomings which we know exist and will strive to improve. There is no perfect place on this earth, but we in Chicago have much to be proud of and to share with our neighbors from around the world.

  17. Richard Kennedy Aug. 21, 2010 at 9:09 a.m.

    Re: the last sentence of the article, I would expect there to be precisely zero embassies in Chicago since Chicago is not the capitol of the US. Consulates yes, embassies no.