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What Makes London a Global City?

London is a global city both in a world-class league but also increasingly in a league of its own. It is faced with the challenges and opportunities that are presented by being in that class.


  • London is a transport hub to many other destinations; Europe and the world.
  • All of London's airport terminals see more than 100,000 flights per month.  


  • It is populous and diverse (nearly a third of the city's population is from black, asian or other minority ethnic (BAME) groups.
  • Over the next ten years BAME groups will account for 80% of the increase in London's working age population.
  • Londoners speak over 300 languages and belong to at least 14 different faiths: hosting the world in a city).  

International HQs

  • Financial and Business services: home to 33% of European HQs of Global Fortune 500.
  • Over 40% of the world's foreign equities are traded here, more than New York.
  • Over 30% of the world's currency exchanges take place here, more than New York and Tokyo combined.
  • While New York and Tokyo are reliant mainly on their large American and Asian domestic markets, 80% of our business is international.  


Cities have an impact on the environment that transcends traditional boundaries: as a purchaser of goods and a user of energy London faces environmental challenges but has also developed environmental excellence to combat climate change - e.g. decentralised energy production, congestion charge etc.

Knowledge Excellence

  • London's strengths in science, technology and design offer significant competitive advantage.
  • The capital boasts 4,500 world-class researchers and renowned medical and clinical trial centres.
  • Over 42 Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) London's academic excellence is underpinned by the greatest concentration of HEIs in Europe.  

Our challenges

Given the breadth of London's world class attributes this inevitably puts stresses and strains on the infrastructure of the city, therefore we have recognised that if London is to maintain its world-class city status investment in large infrastructure projects such as Crossrail is fundamental.
There are still pockets of deprivation in the city and economic growth must not be at the expense of London's people. Therefore we have implemented pioneering policies in childcare.
While London is an immensely popular business tourism destination, the lack of a modern, international-quality purpose built International Convention Centre has been recognised as a severe hindrance to the capital fulfilling its economic potential.
A Mayoral Commission was set up by the LDA in 2004 to assess the feasibility of developing an International Convention Centre (ICC) in London.
It concluded that to have maximum economic benefit, it should be located in central London. Work is now underway researching location options and funding for the development.
Cities have a central role to play in tackling climate change, particularly as cities bear a disproportional responsibility for causing it. In fact, cities consume 75 per cent of the world's energy and produce 80 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions.
That is why it is so important for cities to work together, set the agenda and show leadership on this issue, London is therefore part of the C40 Climate change group, 40 cities partnering with the Clinton foundation and chaired by the Mayor of London to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world.

The challenges faced by Global cities

The challenges faced by global cities are similar. More than 50% of the world's population now live in cities and, according to the United Nations, this number is set to rise to 60% by 2030 and to 75% by 2050.
Urban growth is now taking place on such a scale that the impacts of cities on economic, social and environmental geography is unprecedented.
The scale and pace of this change has consequences not just on how we live but on the world economy too.
The LDA is leading in the field of economic development; we are developing projects which aim to confront the major problems that cities typically face whilst ensuring that we achieve sustainable economic growth.