News Brief

Property Giant Ties Cities' Investment Prospects to Resilience

May 5, 2014

Canadian cities outrank U.S. in overall resilience, according to a Grosvenor report, but U.S. cities get high marks for adaptive capacity.

Distribution of Resiliency Rankings

Grosvenor ranked 50 of the world’s cities for their social and environmental vulnerability and adaptive capacity in order to measure which ones are most resilient.

In the interest of analyzing the best cities for long-term real estate investment, the international property group Grosvenor recently ranked the resilience of 50 cities across the world. Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary top the list, while Chicago came in fourth.

The researchers judged a city’s resilience based on its environmental and social vulnerability and its “adaptive capacity”—the sum of assets like community cohesion, infrastructure, and natural resources that might allow a city to recover after a shock. According to Grosvenor’s report, U.S. cities ranked lower than the top Canadian cities in overall resilience because “inequality in U.S. cities leads to social tension, utilities lack investment, and urban sprawl leads to over-consumption of land resources.” However, in the adaptive capacity rankings, U.S. cities took six of the seven top spots: New York is followed by Toronto, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston.

The report can be viewed as a risk-analysis tool, according to Grosvenor, because more resilient cities will be able to preserve capital values and generate sustainable rental incomes over the long term. “We are not suggesting that you shouldn’t invest in those cities that place lower down the rankings, but the research highlights the risks those cities face and enables more informed decision making,” according to Grosvenor’s group research director Richard Barkham, Ph.D.

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