Madrid is Spain’s highest-placed city in the fourth edition of IESE’s Cities in Motion Index (CIMI), climbing three positions in the period analyzed (2014-16) and standing out in the dimension of Mobility and Transportation, in 6th place, and in International Impact at 15th. Barcelona has dropped overall to 35th from 2014, but it is the best-placed city for International Impact, ranking 4th in the world behind Paris, London and Bangkok. 

Behind Madrid and Barcelona, Malaga holds the 51st position, moving-up three positions in the period between 2014-2016; Valencia, in 63rd, moving down three; and Seville, the clear protagonist of progress, in 68th, climbing seven positions. Bilbao (75th) and Coruña (78th) wrap-up the Spanish cities measured, each of which dropped two spots since the last Index was released.

Cities in Motion Index

This annual study, which has one of the largest ranges of data analyzed and geographical coverage, goes beyond the mere  measuring of technology and the environment, to examine all aspects that make up sustainability and quality of life in 180 key world cities in 80 countries. (See indicators and sources in the table below.)

IESE professors Joan Enric Ricart and Pascual Berrone used 79 indicators, which cover the following ten dimensions: Governance (effectiveness of state intervention), Urban Planning, Public Management (administration’s efficiency), International Impact (tourism and foreign investments), Environment, Technology, Social Cohesion (consensus among the different social groups in a city), Mobility and Transportation (ease of movement and access to public services), Human Capital (developing, attracting and nurturing talent), and Economy (economic development.)

New York, the smartest city in the world

DSC_0009New York, London and Paris top the Index, with top qualifications in almost all criteria used. New York is the world’s most important economic center, ranking first in this dimension, and is in second place in Technology. London tops the Mobility and Transportation and the Human Capital dimensions, being the city with the highest number of business schools and universities, while also standing out in International Impact (2nd). First in International Impact, Paris proves the world’s most popular tourist destination.

Rounding out the top 10 are three other American cities (Boston 4th, San Francisco 5th, and Washington, D.C. 6th), two other European cities (Berlin 9th and Amsterdam 10th), and Seoul (7th) and Tokyo (8th). The two cities with the lowest ranking are Lagos (Nigeria) and Karachi (Pakistan). They both show a poor performance in almost every dimension of the ranking.

#Madrid - turn your #light on! You are one of the most #beautiful #city in #Europe ---- #Spain #2015

#Madrid – turn your #light on! You are one of the most #beautiful #city in #Europe —- #Spain #2015

According to Berrone, “globalization combined with a higher population moving toward cities is generating new challenges that put the sustainability of cities at risk. Some of the new problems include population aging, refugees, inequality, pollution and energy inefficiency. They are all complex problems that require cities to review their strategies, decide their priorities and determine what they want to become. Moreover, the transformation of a city is not an individual´s undertaking but a collective endeavour, so collaboration with different social partners (public, private, educational institutions, non-profit organizations) is essential”.


Top ten list

Deutschland Germany

  1. New York City
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Boston
  5. San Francisco
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Seoul
  8. Tokyo
  9. Berlin
  10. Amsterdam


Evolution of the ranking – last three editions


The CIMI ranking 2017 analyses the performance of 180 cities in 2016 (in order to make sure all data is available). Comparing the results of the last three editions, authors found that:


  • There is a certain stability in the top seven positions. The first and second positions varied between New York and London between 2014 and 2016.
  • Special attention should be paid to Toronto, which has climbed eight positions to 11th since 2014, topping the ranking for Social Cohesion, Environment and Urban Planning; and to Milan, which rose 12 places to 38th, thanks to its improved performance in the dimensions of Social Cohesion and Urban Planning.
  • Ranking by dimensions


    • Potential cities: despite being in the medium to low zone in the Index, they are evolving positively and rapidly. (E.g.: Tehran, Jakarta, Kiev, Quito, Lima, Santo Domingo, Ho Chi Minh City).
    • Challenger cities: cities that have improved their positions in the Index at a brisk pace and are already in the high zone. (E.g. Milan, Toronto, and Rome).
    • Vulnerable cities: cities growing at a slower pace, and are falling to the medium to low positions of the Index. (E.g. Ankara, Pretoria, Caracas, and Riyadh).
    • Consolidated cities: cities with a generally medium-high position, but which have maintained their position throughout the period or have dropped slightly. (E.g. Baltimore, Chicago, London, Zurich, Oslo, Melbourne, and Dubai).



    About IESE Cities in Motion


    IESE Cities in Motion Strategies is a research platform launched jointly by the Center for Globalization and Strategy and the Department of Strategy of the IESE Business School.