l Cities (in the 17 European countries the Centre for Cities report
studied) accounted for 3 per cent of land area but 42 per cent of
l Europe’s 50 largest cities produced a quarter of European
l Roughly 60 per cent of UK output is generated in our cities.
l London accounts for 24 per cent of UK GVA.
l UK cities are, generally, much less productive than cities on the
l UK cities have a lower share of high-skilled residents than cities
in most other countries.
Alongside a general overview, the specifics of how a number of cities
operate also provide valuable guidance, and so I have briefly profiled
here a number of our main competitors: Rotterdam, Lyon, Frankfurt,
Chicago, Sapporo and Milan.
With a population of more than 630,000, Rotterdam is the second
largest city in the Netherlands (Eurostat, 2014). It is within the
Randstad, one of the biggest conurbations in Europe. Given its size
and industrial structure, Rotterdam is most similar to UK cities such
as Sheffield and Glasgow.²⁸
Its core strength is its port, the largest in Europe and one of the
biggest in the world. As a result, logistics and consumer goods
industries play a big role in the city, attracting firms like Unilever and
Procter & Gamble. For this reason, Rotterdam has traditionally had a
working-class reputation. However, in recent years the city has been
transforming itself as a modern urban economy based on services
and seeing greater GDP growth than other parts of the country.²⁹
²⁸ Bessis H. (2016) Competing with the continent, Centre for Cities.